Gas Leaks and Explosions

By Hardin Ramey on March 14, 2019

Firefighters looking at a burning houseWe expect that the utilities we use are safe and will do us no harm. That’s why we rely on utility companies to come fix broken power lines or address issues with natural gas pipes. Unfortunately, there are times when even utility companies are negligent or are unable to prevent a dangerous situation. That is the case with natural gas leaks and explosions; a fatal gas explosion affected a Dallas, TX family in early 2018.

Hardin R. Ramey is an experienced personal injury lawyer with a drive to hold negligent companies and parties accountable. The team at the Ramey Law Firm, PLLC would like to consider a few matters surrounding gas leaks and explosions, including information on warning signs. If you were harmed in a gas explosion, speak with an attorney who will hold utility companies accountable.

2018 Atmos Energy Gas Leak and Explosion

Last February in a residential neighborhood in northwest Dallas, a fatal natural gas explosion occurred that took the life of 12-year-old Linda “Michellita” Rogers. The night before the deadly explosion, Atmos Energy inspected gas leak complaints n other houses around the neighborhood. A report by The Dallas Morning News also revealed that there were reported 28 gas leaks in that neighborhood alone.

To this day, there is still no explanation for the explosion, though authorities continue to examine evidence to find a definitive answer.

Numerous Gas Leaks Across the Country

A number of high-profile natural gas explosions have occurred in different parts of the country in the last few years. Atmos Energy was recently fined for a gas leak and explosion at an Irving, TX home in January 2018.

In September of 2018, gas leaks led to fires and explosions affecting at least 39 Massachusetts homes in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. This extensive gas leak incident claimed one life.

In November 2018, a Hardyston, NJ home was completely obliterated in a gas explosion. While nobody was hurt or killed, some reported that the blast could be felt 20 miles away.

What Is Causing These Gas Explosions?

There are numerous potential causes of natural gas explosions. In the Atmos Energy case in Texas, cracks in cast iron and steel pipes underground tend to be the main cause of leaks. This is why there’s a major push to replace all of the old natural gas pipes with safer plastic polymer pipes.

Another possibility is an excessive buildup of pressure within natural gas pipes. This can lead to the pipes themselves exploding or excess gas leaking into homes because of the excessive pressure and subsequently igniting.

Signs of Gas Leaks

Given the potential for gas leaks and serious harm should there be a natural gas explosion, it’s important to look for the following warning signs around your home:

  • The smell of rotten eggs
  • The smell of sulfur
  • Bubbles appearing in your water
  • Hissing or whistling near a gas line
  • A white cloud or a dust cloud near a gas line
  • Dead or dying houseplants

Inhaling natural gas will lead to a number of physical symptoms as well. Be on the lookout for the following warning signs in members of your household:

  • Breathing problems
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Sore throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain

We must also note that there are cases when the warning signs are not present, and leaks and subsequent explosions occur without warning. If anything, the above signs will help you and your family remain safe and watchful for the dangers around the home.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about your legal rights and options following a gas leak or gas explosion, be sure to contact a catastrophic injury and wrongful death lawyer. The team at Ramey Law Firm, PLLC is here to help. You can reach our law office by phone at (972) 636-4578.

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