This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – September 12, 2011

Sep 12th, 2011 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions, Natural Gas Leaks

NatGas Consulting

On the one-year anniversary of the devastating natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California, natural gas leaks and explosions continue to occur with depressing regularity throughout the country. It's really not a question of if, but when, there will be another tragedy on the order of the one that took the lives of eight people in San Bruno last year. Photo courtesy of KGO-TV.

On the one-year anniversary of the San Bruno natural gas explosion, which killed 8 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood, natural gas leaks and natural gas explosions continue to occur with alarming regularity around the country.

A natural gas explosion leveled a Long Island, New York, home around 1 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 7, according to a story in the New York Post.

From the Post story, in its inimitable tabloid style:

“It was a hell of a fire,” said Valley Stream volunteer firefighter Kevin Hall. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries. The house, which looked like it was a pile of pickup sticks, also blew out the windows and damaged the outside of a private nursery school next door.

“I thought it was an earthquake, or a bomb. I thought even my house had fallen down,” said a neighbor. “Even people from blocks away could hear it.”

Four puppies are recovering after they were burned in a natural gas explosion that destroyed a home in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, Sept. 3. Watch the video from Norfolk’s News Channel 3 below for the full story

A natural gas explosion destroyed three homes in Murphysboro, Illinois, on Saturday, Sept. 10. According to a story in the Carmi Times, Murphysboro Police Chief Michael Bock attributed the explosion to natural gas. No one was seriously injured, according to media accounts of the blast, although the explosion broke windows and cracked walls in homes as far as two block away.

Cyprus Gardens Apartment Complex on Route 22 in North Plainfield, where a resident was hospitalized after a natural gas explosion in the complex today.

An 86-year-old man was severely injured in North Plainfield, New Jersey, though, when a natural gas explosion tore through an apartment complex there on Thursday, Sept. 8, according to a story posted on According to North Plainfield Police Chief Michael Parenti, the victim was trying to adjust his thermostat when the explosion occurred.

A natural gas explosion nearly destroyed a McDonald’s restaurant in Encinitas, California on Sept. 2. According to a story in the San Diego Union Tribune, the blast caused the roof of the restaurant to cave in and caused between $500,000 and $700,000 worth of damage. There no injuries because employees smelled natural gas and evacuated the establishment before the explosion occurred. Check out video of the damaged home of the Hamburgler on YouTube. It’s amazing that no one was hurt or injured in the explosion.

An explosion at a natural gas well in Kenedy County, Texas, killed one man and injured two others on Friday, Sept. 9. From a story posted on

Willacy county Emergency Management coordinator Frank Torres told Action 4 News that the accident happened on a private ranch. According to Torres, technicians with a gas company were working on a well head, when it exploded.

Torres confirms at least one person was killed, two others were injured. At this time, gas is still leaking from the gas well and the gas company has activated its emergency response team.

Torres says their main concern is that a second blast could follow.

A Bakersfield, California, woman was severely injured in a natural gas explosion on Friday, Sept. 2, when she lit a cigarette near a gas line in a house she was moving out of, according to a story in the Bakersfield Californian. Bakersfield Fire Department Capt. Danny Brown told the Californian that the blast lifted the roof two inches off the house, bent a wall and blew out a window but did not spark a fire.

Authorities in Girard, Illinois, are attributing the death of an 87-year-old man to a natural gas explosion that destroyed his home around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, according to a story in The Journal News.

From the Journal News story:

Girard Fire Department firefighters located a body in the remains of the residence while battling the blaze. The victim owned the home and lived alone there, according to Albrecht.

Foul play is not immediately suspected in the incident. The sheriff’s office and State Fire Marshall are investigating the blast, but according to Albrecht, the explosion is presumed to be the result of a natural gas buildup in the home.

A natural gas leak closed Patrick Henry Drive in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Thursday, Sept. 8. There was no word on the on the cause of the leak in the pipeline, operated by Atmos Energy.

A natural gas leak forced the evacuation of a school in Leavenworth, Kansas, on Tuesday, Sept. 6, after the odor of the natural gas wafted through the school. Investigators determined that the leak was coming from a faulty regulator on the roof of the building, according to a story in Leavenworth Times.

And remember, as always, this account of natural gas leaks and explosions does not include leaks caused by construction crews or other excavation incidents. To include those would take up far too much space because they are alarmingly routine.

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4 Comments to “This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – September 12, 2011”

  1. Alice Mulle says:

    How can we stop this???

  2. Awful choice of our country to put its citizens at risk while we continue to extract fossil fuels and use them

    to our detriment and play havoc with our lives and environment. With all the info available, we are without

    excuse to continue this madness.

  3. HarryB says:

    Of course, there is no follow-up on any of these stories as to why the problems occurred.
    Bakersfield – someone, a thief who obviously didn’t care while stealing the gas appliances, left the gas valves open. She walked in and lit a cigarette. Surprise! Gas can be explosive.
    Perhaps it would be best if we stopped using NG, and all fossil fuels, immediately. No impact to anyone, right?
    I’d worry about quitting smoking first – not just dangerous, practically a guaranteed death sentence.

  4. JP says:

    The hits keep on coming.
    With so many people pushing for CNG as the new transportation fuel it might be worth taking a closer look at the potential consequences of putting this highly dangerous fuel literally in the hands of the public on a daily basis. If we can’t keep the existing crumbling infrastructure up to date and safe are we really prepared to expand it?

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