According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), about 4,200 residential home fires are caused by igniting gas leaks. Additionally, firefighters respond to about 340 leaks daily that do not involve ignition, fire, or gas explosion. Approximately 40 people die every year from gas fires.
- Gas Line Fires and Explosions
- Residential Home Property Gas Leak
- Common Causes of Fuel Explosions
- Common Injuries in Gas Explosions and Fires
- Common Severe Injuries Associated with Explosion Of Natural Gas
- Causes of Natural Gas Explosions
- Determining Responsibility in the Aftermath of a Natural Gas Leak Explosion
- Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Financial Recovery
- Recent Gas Explosions
- Gas Explosions FAQs
- Hire Gas Explosion Lawyers to Handle Your Compensation Case
Were you severely injured in a gas leak, or did you lose a family member through a wrongful death caused by another’s negligence?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC law firm can ensure that your family receives fair compensation for the devastating consequences they endured.
Contact a burn injury lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free case review.
All information you share with our personal injury law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Gas Line Fires and Explosions
Drilling for gas and oil has always been dangerous. Employees are often involved in workplace explosions when fuel vapor leaking from a broken pipe liner valve contacts an ignition source. Even with highly restrictive safety regulations, gas explosions happen at worksites in the mountains, prairie, and offshore.
Fracking and drilling operations are notorious for causing catastrophic injuries to workers and residents living close by when an explosion from a pipeline or propane tank occurs.
In addition to a gas explosion accident, gas company workers, plumbers, contractors, and the public can be exposed to potential calamities, including explosions and fires caused by the substance.
A gas explosion fatality is often the result of a lack of training, worn or defective equipment, safety violations, cracked gas pipelines, or improper safety inspections.
Residential Home Property Gas Leak
National statistics reveal that local fire departments responded to about 125,000 gas and propane leak calls yearly that did not start a fire at or in the home property.
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, some reported leaking propane tanks were attached to a propane gas grill on the property. Leaking tanks have been a leading contributing factor to many residential fires, including gas explosions and fires involving home heating equipment, including water heaters.
The cost of residential gas escape is estimated to be $54 million for direct property damage each year. Many catastrophic fires and explosions caused by gas leaks caused significant damage to single and multi-family homes, including apartment buildings and manufactured housing.
Statistics show that approximately 73% of ignitions that led to gas explosion cases were confined to the igniting object, like a water heater, gas line, or grill.
Common Causes of Fuel Explosions
Leaking fuel from a pipeline or tank in an industrial setting can lead to an explosion. Additionally, an explosion might result from a malfunctioning consumer product (product liability) that contributes to the explosion, like a faulty appliance that was not properly manufactured, distributed, sold, installed, or repaired.
- Malfunctioning seals, valves, and connectors
- Insufficient labeling and warnings
- Theft of piping or copper wiring
- Any pipeline installation violating safety or standards and building codes
- Improper odorization (insufficient sulfur smell additives)
- Leaky hoses and tanks
With propane gas, a chemical fire can result when a delivery company does not correctly fill the tank and when a new propane tank is not adequately treated, leaving it with moisture and rust.
Additionally, propane is highly flammable when a leak occurs and can be easily ignited by fire, smoking materials, electric sparks, or static electricity.
Common Injuries in Gas Explosions and Fires
Exposure to propane and natural gases can place individuals at significant risk of severe injuries or loss of lives if a catastrophic explosion or fire occurs. Damaged pipelines and faulty valves can cause leaks, leading to gas explosions.
Many people involved in a house or workplace explosion experience severe life-altering injuries, including:
- Fractured bones
- Burn injury
- Crush injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Amputation and crushed limbs caused by equipment failure or mechanical malfunction
- Blunt force head injury or trauma causing substantial brain issues
- Heat and chemical burns
- Sickness as a result of poisonous chemical release
- Fatalities as a result of some catastrophic mishap/gas explosion causing burns
Common Severe Injuries Associated with Explosion Of Natural Gas
Often, companies overlook the warning signs on the job site to increase profits. Protecting the corporation’s bottom line is often at the expense of dedicated, loyal workers, who must file a workers compensation claim to cover their personal injury, medical bills, and emotional damages.
Many hazards directly associated with leaks and explosions include:
- Ear damage or hearing loss caused by high-level noise from drilling equipment
- Injury caused by tired or overworked workers
- Injury caused by non-existing or improper supervision and management
- Serious injury as a result of missing safety devices, improperly used or worn/defective equipment
Causes of Natural Gas Explosions
Gas lines are installed in new construction. Utility companies use these lines to power the entire building or use them for individual units with appliances.
A defective connector and control valve can cause serious injury or wrongful death. Household appliances and equipment that are often involved in an explosion include:
- Barbecue grill
- Water heater
- Central heating and cooling (HVAC) system
- Oven or range
- Swimming pool heater
- Fireplace log
- Space heater
Determining Responsibility in the Aftermath of a Natural Gas Leak Explosion
Due to the hazardous nature of gas, components, devices, and appliances must be appropriately managed, installed, and maintained. However, serious gas explosions can happen when manufacturers sell defective or substandard machines and equipment.
When an equipment marketing company sells a defective product or the contractor improperly installs or repairs the device, it can lead to serious injuries from an explosion.
Multiple parties can be legally responsible for a gas explosion case including:
- The appliance and equipment manufacturer
- The gas company
- The distributor
- Equipment sales representative/marketing company
- Installation professional or contractor
- Repair professional or contractor
- Utility companies
- Third-party companies
The leak usually happens due to someone else’s negligence. It could mean corporate negligence from a property manager or negligent maintenance from a property owner.
Seasoned personal injury attorneys are often successful in handling explosion claims. The party responsible will have to pay all explosion victims and surviving family members (in a wrongful death case) financial compensation for their damages.
Victims can often pursue a claim against third parties responsible for deliberate or unintentional actions that caused the accident.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Financial Recovery
Many families wonder if they can file a civil lawsuit for a burn or explosion injury caused by the negligent actions of others, such as a property owner or a utility company. An explosion burn injury is typically severe, leaving victims with lifelong disabilities.
A gas explosion lawyer will typically file a compensation case or a civil lawsuit against any party or company responsible to obtain a financial recovery on behalf of their clients.
If an explosion causes a worker’s injuries, the victim can seek financial recovery through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
However, the compensation is usually insufficient to cover the victim’s damages, including medical expenses, hospitalization costs, lost earnings, pain, and suffering.
A personal injury attorney working on behalf of their client will file a third-party claim against all other defendants responsible for causing the accident.
Recent Gas Explosions
- Fairfax County, Virginia, February 2021: A fuel leak in Springfield, VA, led to multiple workers suffering severe injuries and damaging vehicles when a backhoe ruptured a pipeline that exploded and caught fire just after 12:00 PM. A utility crew was excavating an underground pipeline when the rupture led to leaking fuel that caught fire and exploded.
- Spring, Texas, March 2021: Emergency medical technicians transported six Center Point Energy workers to the hospital after a leaking incident that investigators identified as a “possible gas explosion and fire.” Initial reports indicated that the crew had damaged an underground pipeline. In addition to the injuries, the fire significantly damaged one home.
- Ames, Oklahoma, February 2021: Authorities reported no injuries in a pipeline explosion in Oklahoma that occurred at 5:45 AM approximately 65 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Initial reports indicate that a six or eight-inch pipeline was ruptured, gathering fuel from various wells to be transported to other areas.
Gas Explosions FAQs
Our natural gas explosion lawyers know that some families have unanswered questions about resolving a compensation claim involving a catastrophic event. An experienced gas explosion lawyer answered some of those questions below.
For additional information about natural explosions or what your next step is to hold those at fault for causing your damages, contact a gas explosion lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number). We provide free case reviews to all potential clients.
Does natural gas explode?
Any flame or spark in the presence of leaks could cause a horrific explosion. Many explosive events are caused by leaking butane, propane, and fossil fuel used in residential homes for heating or cooking.
A minor leak might only produce a small explosion that does not generate significant force to cause extensive damage, injury, or death. The leading cause of most leaks includes improper use of gases, incorrectly installed appliances, rusty lines, defective equipment, and malfunctioning tanks.
How common are these explosions?
Statistics reveal that approximately 285 severe gas explosions occur annually in the United States. Typically, insurance companies pay injured victims and surviving families more than $50,000 to cover property damage, loss of life, and severe injury.
Fire and explosion data revealed that, on average, 15 individuals died in US gas distribution incidents yearly between 1998 and 2017.
Is gas highly explosive?
The substance is primarily methane, much like propane, and both have nearly the same energy density per unit mass. However, studies show that propane explosions produce much higher overpressure in an unconfined area when compared to gas.
Methane has a much lower reactivity response between the two fuels, whereas propane is considered a medium reactivity fuel. Additionally, propane expands at a higher ratio during combustion.
Do leaks always cause explosions?
According to fire department statistics, most calls concerning propane or natural gas leaks do not result in fires or explosions. Both propane and gas have a sulfur-smelling (rotten egg) additive to alarm individuals that the substance is present in the workplace, home, or area.
Any people who believe they are smelling the substance should leave the premises immediately and contact the appropriate authorities, including 911, as quickly as possible. Typically, the gas company or fire department will respond and take reasonable measures to stop the leaking soon.
Is natural gas poisonous?
No, it is a non-poisonous (non-toxic) fuel. However, people can die from exposure to the gas through suffocation when the gas displaces the internal air of a confined space. Minimal exposure (25 to 30%) of gas can cause oxygen deficiency, leading to unpredictable behavioral changes, euphoria, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
At 50% gas displacement, the individual can become incapacitated in just a few breaths and cannot self-rescue. At a 75% gas-to-air ratio, victims are immediately incapacitated and can die within minutes.
Hire Gas Explosion Lawyers to Handle Your Compensation Case
Did you suffer severe burn injuries in a gas leak fire? Did you lose a loved one in a gas explosion caused by another’s negligence?
Our team is tenacious; we understand the evidence and where to get it. We also are adept at navigating through administrative issues, whether it be the insurance company or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations.
Families who have lost loved ones in explosions can file wrongful death lawsuits, holding those responsible for all damages in your gas explosion case, including hospitalization costs, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is one of the few law firms in the country with a proven track record of explosion cases.
Contact our gas explosion attorneys at our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
We work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you don’t owe us anything for our legal services if we don’t recover compensation.