This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – Nov. 5, 2012Nov 6th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles
Welcome to a special Hurricane Sandy edition of This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions.
As the storm struck last week, it triggered a natural gas-fueled fire in the borough of Queens in New York City that destroyed more than 100 homes, as well as natural gas-fueled blazes that struck several locations in New Jersey. Although there was some immediate disagreement about the role of natural gas in the Queens inferno, the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, citing emergency communications transmissions, confirmed that natural gas did, in fact, fuel the destruction.
A story by Reuters reporter Michelle Conlin confirmed that National Grid did not shut off gas flow to the area until the day after the fire.
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Watch footage of the Queens fire here:
In Mantoloking, New Jersey, a natural gas explosion destroyed eight homes, according to a recent media report describing the catastrophe. Observers reported pockets of flame coming up from the sands after an underground gas main exploded shortly after Hurricane Sandy swept through the area.
In Brick Township, New Jersey, a series of natural gas-related fires broke out in the wake of the storm, according to a recent media report.
The damage wrought by the storm is enormous, and in New Jersey, natural gas leaks continue to pose a serious threat to the public safety. According to a recent CNN report, utilities have responded to more than 1,300 natural gas leaks and still the smell of gas hangs heavy in the air.
Ultimately, public officials decided to shut down the natural gas system in Long Beach Island and from Bayhead to Seaside Park.
Watch the full CNN report here:
In Louisiana, the Sheriff in Assumption Parish, where a huge sinkhole opened up several months ago, says a massive natural gas explosion is not out of the question.
“If it finds a source, an oil well, a water well, it will basically come to the surface. If that’s inside of a shed, or something off the ground and it’s captured, it’s an ignition source. Then ‘Boom,’ and you have an explosion,” Assumption Parish Sheriff Michael J. Waguespack said in a recent interview.
From the Examiner.com:
The sinkhole developed after two months of methane bubbling in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, according to locals and subsequent news reports. The methane bubbles were occurring as thousands of earthquakes were also occurring, according to USGS later reports.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, thieves stealing copper pipe are suspected to have touched off a natural gas explosion that destroyed a vacant home there, according to a recent media report. Debris from the blast was reportedly found two blocks away.
A natural gas explosion in Newark, New Jersey, destroyed a home and killed two dogs, according to a recent media report describing the incident. A spokesperson for the Newark Fired Department attributed the blast to a valve that could not be properly closed, allowing gas to seep into the home until it reached explosive levels.
A house exploded in Marlborough, Massachusetts, early in the morning on Sunday, Oct. 29, sending one man to the hospital, according to recent media report describing the blast.
Authorities in La Jolla, California, near San Diego, say a natural gas explosion destroyed one home and triggered a savage inferno that severely damaged two others on Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to a recent media account of the incident. Area neighbors said the blast sounded like a sonic boom.
A natural gas explosion destroyed a home in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, according to a recent media account of the blast. There were no injuries, although a family pet was killed in the blast.
A preliminary investigation into the cause of an explosion that killed one person in Saybrook, Illinois, indicates that natural gas may have been the cause of the blast, according to a recent media report detailing the incident. The explosion occurred on Saturday, Oct. 27. The incident remains under investigation.
And remember, as always, this round-up of natural gas leaks and explosions is not meant to be comprehensive; it is merely representative. If we were to include all the leaks and explosions that occur throughout the country on an astonishingly routine basis, this feature would be far, far lengthier than it already it is.