According to a new Boston University study, there are more than 3,300 leaks in Boston’s underground pipelines. Leaks releasing natural gas pose an explosion hazard, as well as environmental damages resulting from aging road and rail networks under city streets.
So far, Boston has not had any reports of gas explosions from the leaks; the majority of the leaks are tiny. However, there are six locations with gas levels higher than the threshold at which explosions can occur. Three years ago, a Gloucester house exploded due to a corroded 1911 gas main, which served as a reason for Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment to conduct this study. The research was published on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 in the journal Environmental Pollution.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and Boston’s Gas companies assert that there is an extremely small risk of the leaks causing explosions. Grave leaks are immediately repaired, while the remaining leaks expose low levels that would not be able to cause explosions. Safety for the public, “is our highest priority,” said Ann G. Berwick, chairwoman of the state Department of Public Utilities. Berwick will start to encourage gas companies to replace old mains by providing financial incentive programs for the firms.
Factors causing or contributing to gas explosions resulting in burn injuries or wrongful death have included improper gas line locations, faulty parts and equipment in mobile homes, workplace equipment, camping equipment, and defectively designed propane stoves. One important signal indicating the potential for a catastrophic event is the odor of gas (note that although gas has no smell, laws require that odorants be added for safety purposes). Should a gas leak be suspected, the property owner or occupants should immediately evacuate, then contact the proper authorities.
If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries from a fire, explosion or electrocution, contact a personal injury attorney at our Boston law office. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call us at (617) 742-1900 or Toll Free at (800) 545-3732.