This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – July 15, 2013Jul 15th, 2013 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
The lazy days of summer vacation are over here at NaturalGasWatch.org, but unfortunately, natural gas explosions and leaks never take a break. We may have been at the beach watching the tide roll away, but the wave of destruction wrought by the natural gas industry rolled on, exacting a heavy and, more often than not, tragic toll.
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An explosion at a hydraulic fracturing natural gas well triggered a searing blaze on Sunday, July 7, in Doddridge County, West Virginia, sending eight workers to the hospital, according to media reports describing the incident.
The fire reportedly originated in a pair of tanks located approximately 50 feet from the fracking operation, which is owned and operated by Antero Resources, according to a MetroNews.com story. Federal and state regulators said the investigation into the cause of the fire remains under investigation, and state authorities have ordered the well to cease operations until further notices.
Area resident John Pitcock describes the incident:
Allentown, Pennsylvania, Mayor Ed Pawlowski had some harsh words for UGI a few weeks ago after the gas company failed to report a major gas leak to the city’s first responders in a timely fashion, choosing instead to let a massive stream of natural gas spew for hours before issuing an alert, according to local media reports.
Noise generated by the gas escaping via the leak, which developed on June 25 when a contractor working in the area struck a natural gas pipeline, was so loud it reportedly overwhelmed emergency radio communications.
From a story published by The Morning Call:
Pawlowski said firefighters were “chasing down reports of gas odors several blocks from the scene because they hadn’t yet been summoned to the area of the broken valve in the street where the contractor was working. I shudder to think what might have happened … Today, gas was spewing for hours. Although it is early in any investigation, this appears to be another instance where there are not enough shut-off valves in the system.”
UGI recently paid a $500,000 fine in connection with a tremendous natural gas explosion that killed five in Allentown on Feb. 9, 2011.
A massive natural gas explosion ripped through three homes and severely damaged dozens of others in Corpus Christi, Texas, early on the morning of Friday, July 12, according to recent media reports detailing the incident.
Watch video of the explosion and its aftermath here:
In rural Washington Parish, Louisiana, a 30-inch natural gas transmission line exploded early on the morning of June 18, jolting area residents awake, sending flames soaring hundreds of feet into the sky and torching trees up to 1,500 feet away from the epicenter of the blast, according to recent media reports.
The natural gas explosion, which occurred after a pipeline owned and operated by the Florida Gas Transmission Co. ruptured, also disrupted electrical service to nearly 18,000 Louisiana residents when the natural gas explosion tore down nearby power lines and scorched utility poles located within the blast zone.
This most recent explosion is not the first involving a Florida Gas Transmission pipeline; the company was already operating under a pipeline safety consent order, according to records obtained from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Indeed, PHMSA has issued a second Corrective Action Order, dated June 24, in connection with the June 18 natural gas explosion.
A lightning strike caused a natural gas explosion on July 4 at a pipeline located near Big Chimney, West Virginia, according to recent media reports. No one was injured in the incident.
A powerful natural gas explosion destroyed a home in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, California, on July 5, sending an elderly woman to the hospital with critical burns, according to media reports describing the incident. Both the victim of the blast and area residents told investigators that they had smelled natural gas in vicinity in the days leading up to the natural gas explosion.
Police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, say they have a suspect in custody in connection with a natural gas explosion that razed a home there on Saturday, July 6, according to recent media reports. The suspect, 35-year-old Michael Migliaccio, was allegedly looting the vacant home when he touched off the blast by cutting into some copper pipe that carried natural gas.
Authorities in Beloit, Wisconsin, believe a natural gas leak is to blame for an explosion that leveled a house there and sent two people to the hospital on Monday, July 8, according to recent media reports. One victim died several days later, on July 11. The two victims were reportedly trapped in the rubble and were rescued by emergency crews.
A natural gas well that had been taken out of service several years ago ruptured and leaked an unknown yet significant quantity of natural gas into the sea about 75 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, according to recent media reports describing the incident. The leak at the well, owned by Talos Energy LLC, occurred when a crew working to permanently seal the idled well lost control of the project.
And remember, as always, this round-up of incidents from around the country is not meant to be comprehensive; instead, it is merely representative of magnitude of the destruction the occurs on a regular basis because of natural gas leaks and explosions.