This Week in Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – July 18, 2011Jul 19th, 2011 | By admin | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions, Natural Gas Leaks
It’s been a busy week around the country for natural gas leaks and natural gas explosions, so let’s get right to it, then, shall we?
In St. Louis, MO, a vacant house exploded on Monday night, blowing and bricks from the building and setting the place on fire. No one was injured.
In Ellicott City, MD, a natural gas pipeline exploded on Saturday morning, July 16. The explosion occurred at the Transco natural gas pipeline station, owned and operated by the Williams Companies Inc. Williams recently received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand the Transco pipeline.
Their investigation has determined that a natural gas shut-off valve that used to be connected to a clothes dryer somehow got cracked open or it sprang a leak and that caused natural gas to leak into the house.
The natural gas vapors drifted into the attic, and when the air conditioning unit in the attic came on, there was a spark which ignited the natural gas, causing an explosion and fire.
“I just have to give God thanks and praise I came out alive because when I look back at what had happened, I made it out. Its just amazing,” said Pyke.
The blast was so powerful it blew the roof off, and it blew the garage door into the top of tree. Bits of insulation from the attic were found about 200 feet away.
A duplex home in Durango, CO, exploded on Saturday, July 9, seriously injuring one man. Authorities attributed the explosion to methane, the primary component of natural gas. It remains unclear whether the methane was naturally occurring or related to well activity in the area.
A tractor working a farm in Ventura County, CA, triggered an explosion on the morning of Sunday, July 10 when it struck a natural gas line. The blast reportedly lifted the multi-ton tractor, which was plowing the fields around, off the ground after it struck a buried, 16-inch transmission line. There were no serious injuries.
A malfunctioning valve resulted in approximately 20,000 cubic feet of methane being discharged into the air in Arlington, TX, on Sunday, July 10 at a well owned and operated by Vantage Energy. The discharge is similar to another incident that occurred earlier this year on April 11 at a well owned and operated by Chesapeake Energy.
From the Nothing to Fear Dept.: Nearly seven months after a natural gas leak was detected in a Camarillo, CA, neighborhood, Southern California Gas Co. officials say methane levels in the neighborhood are nothing to worry about any more.
From the Ventura County Star:
The gas leak was first reported Oct. 31, and the company on Nov. 4 repaired a 3-inch crack on a gas main located about 5 feet below the surface of Avenida del Manzano and near the corner of the 600 block of Corte Castano.
Phillip and Connie Hall, whose property is a few feet away from the source of the leak, said the methane continued to spread underneath their home for months. Ventura County Environmental Health officials on April 12 ordered the gas company to investigate possible traces of gas that remained underground.
Battalion Chief Thomas Garra of the Canton Fire Department and the Stark County Hazardous Materials Team said firefighters were called to the scene where six leaks had sprung in the gas main under the road.
“We were getting a 50 percent lower-explosive-limit reading from the manhole cover” in the middle of the road, he said. The intersection was immediately closed, gas company workers were contacted and firefighters evacuated five nearby homes.
They also checked The Laurels of Canton nursing home and rehabilitation center to “shelter in place,” Garra said. The residents were asked to stay indoors with the windows closed because no gas was detected at the nursing home, he said.
The cause of the leaks was unknown. Garra said gas company workers said the line was built in the 1950s and they used a patching system to fix it after digging down to the line with a backhoe.
Chief Tracey Hansen said there were no reports of injuries and only the homes nearest the leak had been evacuated.
The pipe was about an inch in diameter, Hansen said. She did not know whether it was a construction crew or homeowner that called in the break.
Hansen said such incidents were “not as uncommon as we’d like them to be.”
“Often when you have construction crews you can have [breaks] because the lines are mismeasured or the company might have documents that aren’t completely accurate. If it’s a homeowner digging, they didn’t know where the lines were.”
Residents were told to shelter in place after a leak in a natural gas line was discovered in Corpus Christ, TX, on Wednesday, July 7. Officials had difficulty discovering who owned the ruptured pipeline, according to KRIS-TV.
And remember, as always, this round-up doesn’t include those incidents caused by construction crews that rupture lines during operations. Were we to count those as well, these articles would be far, far too long.