Fatal South Philly Explosion
January 6, 2020
The Philadelphia Fire Department has not yet determined a cause behind the fatal explosion that occurred in South Philadelphia just before Christmas. The explosion was felt in homes and businesses blocks away; two people were killed and three houses were destroyed.
According to neighbors, there was constant roadwork in the months leading up to the explosion. Most recently the water department was excavating defective pipes on the 1400 block of South Eighth Street. Officials say that even though they do not know exactly what caused the initial explosion, that it was “gas fed.” Three row homes collapsed, and at least two neighboring structures were badly damaged.
More than 120 firefighters were called to the scene where the fire remained active for hours. Despite their extensive efforts, they were not able to save either of the victims.
Preventing Gas Leaks and Explosions
The neighborhood wants justice. They want to know if a maintenance worker made a mistake or if a gas leak is to blame. The explosion resulted in extensive property damage, displacing approximately 60 residents over the holidays. Gas leaks are notoriously dangerous. A gas explosion occurs when a gas leak comes into contact with an ignition source. Some ways to prevent deadly gas explosions include:
- Ensure that stove burners and ovens are turned off,
- Do not use anything that resembles electricity or fire near a gas leak, like starting a vehicle or lighting a match, and:
- Before starting a digging project, contractors must notify the city of intent to excavate in an area
Natural gas is an odorless substance, so gas providers add a strong (rotten egg or sulfur-like) odor to alert people to its presence. The smell is not the only telltale sign that a gas leak may be happening, so is a roaring or hissing sound and an area with dead vegetation or bubbling water. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the premises immediately. If there are other people in the building, tell them to leave also. Call your gas provider and if necessary, call 9-1-1. Gas leaks do not just happen in the home – they can happen outside, too. There are service lines installed across the city, which need to be buried at a certain depth to prevent the lines from rupturing.
Depending on the situation, a gas explosion can be the result of an individual or company’s negligence. Some of the most common causes behind gas explosions are:
- Improper installation technique on behalf of the utility company,
- Failure to warn, and:
- Lack of safety training
If a utility (e.g. natural gas) company fails to meet the standards that are in place to protect people and properties from gas-related hazards, it is liable for the damages. If you have questions about a gas leak or the explosion, someone at our firm can help. Please contact a representative directly.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
If you have questions about an injury you sustained, please contact our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.