RUPTURED GAS LINE EXPLOSION
Our attorneys have represented several people who were injured in a gas explosion. One case we settled recently involved a camper in Northern Minnesota whose gas line to the furnace heater was unplugged by the former owner before selling the camper. After our client purchased the camper, he turned on the gas, and then when he lit the pilot to start the furnace, the camper exploded. Our client suffered a severe burn from the explosion, but he was lucky he was not killed. Our lawyer on the case was able to settle this gas explosion case and get fair compensation for this client.
In February 2010, there were two house explosions caused by a ruptured gas line that caused significant property damage, but no injury, with fines levied against two gas companies. Had there been anyone in either house, they would have been killed in the explosion or severely burned.
In the first case, a home at 2014 Villard Ave. in St. Paul burned to the ground after a sewer contractor accidentally ruptured a gas line that ran through a sewer line. Northern States Power unintentionally had bored the gas line through the sewer line in what is known as a cross bore. After the rupture, natural gas flowed into a nearby home and ignited. The contractor suffered first-degree burns but warned the homeowner, who was not injured.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Pipeline Safety Office required NSP to inspect thousands of Minnesota sewer lines for similar cross bores — in which a gas line is unknowingly bored through a sewer line — in St. Paul and South St. Paul. The company has since inspected and cleared 53,471 addresses and plans to inspect 20,000 more by 2014.
NSP’s initial fine of $1 million was reduced to $20,000 after the Public Safety Department discovered the company had “procedures for analyzing accidents and failures so the company could minimize recurrence of cross bores,” according to the agency.
In the second explosion, the agency initially fined Center Point Energy $1 million for a delayed response to a house explosion at 5000 Arden Ave. in Edina. A telephone-line contractor hit a gas line next to an unmarked, unused line. The rupture sent gas underground into a nearby home, which was ignited. Again, no one was injured in the blast because the homeowners were working, and their children were in school. The gas company didn’t shut a nearby emergency valve because it would have cut off service to 266,000 customers, instead taking more time to manually squeeze off the line closer to the rupture. Since the accident, the company installed 78 new valves and created new engineering standards for installation of new valves.
MN GAS EXPLOSION LAWYERS
If you or a family member has been injured in a gas explosion because of a ruptured gas line, defective product, or any other cause, call our office to discuss your potential case with a MN gas explosion attorney. Our lawyers have experience with MN gas explosion cases and understand the injuries involved. We can also assist with the investigation and understanding of the cause, and we have our own investigator as well. A gas explosion lawyer will answer your questions and make sure your rights are protected.