Today we turn our attention to Illinois where, last December, a natural gas leak caused an explosion and a subsequent fire that injured two people. In the small Chicago suburb of Homer Glen, a leak prompted an enormous explosion, and the fire it caused burned for hours. The blaze burned a stark contrast to the wintry hinterland scene; a home engulfed in flames amid a neighborhood blanketed in snow. A man and his daughter were extracted from the home, and brought to nearby Silver Cross hospital to be treated for injuries and slight burns.
When it comes to gas leaks, however, there is danger that lies beyond damage to residences and the injuries sustained by potential occupants. The gas leak described above had been detected around 2pm on the day in question, and by the time the explosion had occurred (around 4pm), many had already been evacuated from the area. Mass robo-calls had been sent out, and many who lived within the half-mile radius of the leak, who received the call, had already fled. This is the real danger of natural gas: the widespread area affected by a leak.
Authorities were quick to the scene though, working hard to cap the leak and restore order to the otherwise quiet town. Homer Village Hall, a local government building, opened its doors to the displaced to provide shelter. The home which exploded was completely destroyed before fire fighters were able to extinguish the flames.
In this article, we’ll take a look at safety tips that will teach you how to avoid and detect gas leaks in your home, and also how to prevent injuries if and when a leak does in fact occur.
Gas Leak Safety Tips
We have discussed gas leak prevention and detection before in this article. What follows is a refresher course on keeping your family safe from the ill-effects of natural gas leaks.
Remember, if you suspect there’s been a leak of any kind, call 911 immediately.
- Natural gas is actually completely odorless. Natural gas companies add the chemical methyl mercaptan (methanethiol), so that humans can detect the gas if there is a leak. As you may know, the smell is very disagreeable, and for good reason. The smell of rotten eggs is a surefire way to grab people’s attention!
- Warning signs of a gas leak: a white smog, mist, nebulized fog, unexplained bubbles in standing water, dust or small items blowing in unexplained wind, etc. If any of your household plants have died without clear reason, there is a possibility that they’ve been poisoned and killed by a natural gas leak.
- If you hear whistling or hissing, this may be the sound of a gas leak.
- If you have young children, make sure you bring them with you as you evacuate the area. The farther away from the source of the leak you can get, the better. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. At the slightest hint of a gas leak, it’s best to take precautionary measures and flee the scene.
- Do not smoke, light a match or initiate a fire in any other manner. Natural gas is extremely flammable and even trace amounts of airborne natural gas could ignite via sparks and result in a tremendous and hugely dangerous fireball.
- Report the leak. Do not assume that someone else will take charge and call in the leak. If you know how, shut off your natural gas feed manually.
- Keep all of your gas pipes clean and free of obstruction. Do not lean or stack items on the infrastructure of your pipes and lines. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of your natural gas delivery system, hire an outside company to inspect and maintain your lines.
- Always keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in the home in case of an emergency.
- Only use space heaters in well-ventilated rooms.
- Do not ever use your home oven for a purpose other than cooking. Never use your oven to heat your home.
Have you or a loved one been injured, sickened or otherwise afflicted by natural gas? Has a property owner or landlord’s negligence directly contributed to a gas leak or other accident? If you own a home, the work of outside companies may sometimes result in household accidents. It is impossible for a family to control every aspect of their home themselves. Which means, we’re often forced to defer to the expertise of third-party service companies. If malice or negligence on their part has, in any way, caused an accident or resulted in an injury, it may be within your rights to sue. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we will work tirelessly to win you the compensation you deserve. Our skillful and compassionate attorneys are expert in the area of premises injuries. This compensation can help pay for expensive medical bills and keep you financially secure as you focus on recovering from your injuries. Not sure where to turn? Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today for a free and easy consultation.