Gas explosions are usually associated with industrial locations, chemical plants and the like. The nature of these places make them highly susceptible to explosions, yet residential areas also come with the risk of gas exploding and causing a fire. Distribution pipes bring natural gas to residences, and defects in the pipes or applianc es can lead to a blast. Apartment residents are more likely to suffer harm as the proximity to other apartments allows for the explosion to affect many. Learn the signs of a potential gas explosion, what to do to prevent it and next steps if it happens to you.
How likely is an explosion?
Gas leaks occur all the time due to corrosion, clogs and other damage, and they are usually monitored or left alone instead of repaired. What makes a leak so dangerous is the likelihood of it mixing with a concentration of air. Therefore, the closer the leak is to an enclosed space, such as inside a small apartment, the higher the chances that it will explode. The risk rises with the age of the residential area. Natural gas seeping into a sewer line is another potential cause.
Death is very unlikely. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, only one person has died from a gas distribution incident in Colorado from 1996 to 2015. Injuries are more common, such as burns and penetration from flying debris.
Can you prevent an explosion?
There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a residential gas explosion occurring in your apartment:
- Make sure appliances have been installed correctly.
- Do not use older or secondhand appliances.
- Listen for hissing sounds and notice gas odors.
- Watch for abnormal symptoms of nausea or dizziness.
If you suspect a gas leak, open your windows and doors to allow for ventilation, and then immediately evacuate all persons. Shut off the gas meter if you are able, call 911 and notify your property owner.
What if there is an explosion?
If you are hurt in a gas explosion, seek medical attention first of all. Then, speak to a personal injury attorney with experience in blasts to know what next steps to take. The appropriate legal action will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries. Acting promptly will not only help with your recovery but also your case because you will have better documentation of the medical treatment you receive and the lasting effects of your injuries.