This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – Sept. 10, 2012

Sep 10th, 2012 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Leaks

NatGas Consulting

Four workers were injured, three seriously, in a flash fire at a natural gas transmission plant outside of Casper, Wyoming, earlier this week.

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the massive natural gas explosion that devastated a neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area town of San Bruno, California. The blast killed 8 people, injured 50 others and destroyed 38 homes.

Unfortunately, not much has changed in those two years. PG&E, the utility that owns and operates the pipeline, has not yet been fined in connection with the blast, despite overwhelming evidence that the company’s actions, or lack of it, directly contributed to the explosion.

And across the United States, natural gas pipelines and compression stations continue to explode with astonishing regularity.

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A natural gas compression station exploded near Alice, Texas, on Thursday, Sept. 6, according to recent media reports. The explosion, which occurred at a facility that pressurizes methane for transport via pipeline, sent flames shooting 100 feet into the air, according to witnesses. No one was injured in the blast.

Four workers were injured when the natural gas pipeline they were working on exploded on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 4, according to recent media reports. The explosion occurred in McKinney, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

You can see video of the incident here:

A pair of natural gas explosion destroyed a mobile home in Hastings Township, Michigan, early on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 9, severely injuring one man.


Neighbors awoken by the 2:19 a.m. blast suspect the explosion was caused by natural gas, which is piped into homes in the trailer park, said Barry’s Resort management. Hastings Fire Department officials were not immediately available to confirm that hypothesis.

Nonetheless, Darrin Pitts, whose mother, Rita, lives next door to Boomer, wasn’t shy about his distaste for the heating and electric choice. “I don’t have it in my house for that reason,” he said. “You just don’t know. I use electric. I don’t trust natural gas at all.”

A natural gas explosion in Ceres, California, destroyed a home early on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8. No one was home at the time of the blast and there were no injuries, according to a recent media report, although the blast did damage surrounding homes.

A natural gas explosion in Orange, New Jersey, severely injured two people on Friday, Sept. 7, according to a recent media report.

A natural gas leak in Salt Lake City, Utah, forced the evacuation of about 60 people on the morning of Monday, Sept. 10.

“The Questar crews have been here searching for the leak. They said, once they determined it, they’d dig down and put clamps on the pipes,” Jasen Asay, of the Salt Lake City Fire Department, told SLC’s Fox13 News.

Methan plumes from hydraulic fracturing wells owned by Chesapeake Energy have been documented in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.


Accord­ing to the report – and it’s impor­tant to remem­ber this was funded by an envi­ron­men­tal group, and not an offi­cial state inves­ti­ga­tion – “the data and obser­va­tions clearly indi­cate nat­ural gas has per­vaded an exten­sive sub­sur­face area and …sur­face emis­sions and ground water methane con­t­a­m­i­na­tion prob­lems are likely to con­tinue for unfore­see­able times.”

A leak in a 30-inch natural gas pipeline, owned and operated by Atmos Energy, in Grimes County, Texas, triggered evacuations on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 9, according to a recent media report.

A natural gas leak in Henderson, Texas, forced residents from their homes on Wednesday, Sept.  7, according to a recent media report.

Fire crews evacuated about 50 people from a buidling in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Sept. 8, after a natural gas leak flooded the building with explosive methane. Authorities have still not determined what caused the leak, according to media reports.

Emergency officials in Dublin, North Carolina, went door to door on Thursday, Sept. 8, evacuating people from their homes after learning of a significant natural gas leak in the area, according to a local media account. The cause of the leak remains under investigation.

A natural gas leak in Marion County, Florida, closed roads there for about four hours on Thursday, Sept. 6. According to a recent media report, HazMat team members clamped the smaller of two leaking lines and monitored air quality nearby as workers from TECO Peoples Gas worked to stop the leak in the other, larger line.

And, as always, this round-up of natural gas leaks and explosions is not meant to be comprehensive; it represents a sampling of incidents from around the country, and does not include incidents where gas lines were punctured or compromised by contractors or excavator. Were we to include those projects, this feature would be far, far longer than it already is.

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