Local gas explosions and similar accidents can be extremely serious. Such incidents typically fall under the general category of ‘fire emergencies’ that require immediate responses from fire personnel. However, fire emergencies also have specific causes and come with certain risks, not only to the inhabitants of nearby homes, but to all in the immediate vicinity.
A recent event in the Ocean County area of New Jersey illustrates the risks involved. A recent story on a local Fox affiliate noted that 15 people were injured in a gas explosion that occurred in the basement of a home where natural gas had built up due to an underground public main.
As in the case of similar emergencies, law enforcement officers claimed that the flame that caused the blast was most likely a pilot light from an indoor utility, or alternately, a spark from a thermostat. Any type of small indoor spark or flame can set off a volatile buildup of natural gas in an enclosed space, but given the nature of a pilot light, which is specifically set up in a natural gas-served area, gas buildup can be especially problematic.
Coverage of the incident showed the timeline and connection between warnings from the municipality, the actual blast (which also injured gas line workers) and the subsequent loss of heat in an extremely cold time of year, as natural gas utility workers had to go door-to-door to help customers.
Mitigating Gas Explosions
It may not be possible to completely eliminate these types of accidents; however, having common-sense building rules in place can help prevent such tragic explosions.
One way to mitigate the possible occurrence of gas-related explosions is through proper upkeep of infrastructure. Exposés have shown how, in some cases, utility structures are not thoroughly modernized or designed for proper safety. Utility companies have a major duty to keep pipelines and other installations in good shape.
Additionally, property owners share in the responsibility to keep systems in their homes working properly to lower the chance of a gas explosion. Owners should consider setting up monitoring equipment and ensure that all indoor pipes and lines are serviced regularly as needed.
Preventing gas explosions is everybody’s problem, which is why these types of accidents easily catch the attention of municipal planners and others. But all too often, problems go unaddressed until there’s an actual emergency.
Assessing Gas and Fire Emergencies
In any type of fire accident, personal injury lawyers will look closely at the full context of the case, to include assessing whether key safety rules were in place, how the case was handled and how injury victims obtained treatment. Through careful analysis of the accident and knowledge of federal, state and local law, these legal professionals will help injury victims get the best chances at an equitable settlement or court award.
Get Help From a New York City Personal Injury Law Firm
If you or someone in your family was injured in a New York City fire emergency or gas explosion, contact the lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. We have experience helping New York residents evaluate their legal options. Contact us today to discuss your case.