Gas Pipelines Are More Dangerous Than You Might Believe
There are many homes throughout the country that rely upon natural gas. What many may not realize is how dangerous the infrastructure is that delivers all of this gas. While if this infrastructure is well maintained it’s as safe as can be, the sad reality is that all of that infrastructure is not well maintained. For this reason, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of natural gas related accidents in the United States. Not only have these accidents led to the loss of property, they’ve also led to catastrophic injuries and even, in some cases, the loss of life.
Things to Know About Gas Pipelines in the United States
According to a report in Claims Journal, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently completed a study of the United States’ gas pipelines. It found that although the number of gas pipeline incidents hasn’t increased in the United States overall, the frequency of incidents has yet to decline. Of course, that merely reflects such incidents overall. The real danger becomes apparent when you look more closely.
While incidents concerning gas pipelines that cross state lines have dropped since the federal government began regulating them more strictly, incidents concerning gas pipelines within states have actually risen by 27%. In more than a few high profile cases, these incidents have been shown to have devastating effects. For example, there was a recent event in the state of California that led to the loss of 9 lives and the complete destruction of 70 homes.
The reason for these accidents has to do with the pipelines themselves. According to Claims Journal’s report, there are over 300,000 miles of gas pipelines in the United States. Half of that total is comprised of pipelines that were installed before 1970. Rather obviously, these pipelines have been exposed to the elements longer and have degraded as a result. Further, gas companies have demonstrated, as was the case in the California incident mentioned, that they are unwilling to conduct the routine maintenance necessary to ensure that these gas pipelines are safe.
Gas Pipelines Strike Again
Just last month, a poorly maintained gas pipeline led to a catastrophic accident in Ocean County, New Jersey. The pipeline had degraded over time, forming a crack. From this crack, gas leaked out and then carried along a water mane, where it eventually ended up in a home’s basement. Allowed to build up overnight, this gas was sparked by utilities in the home’s basement, and an enormous explosion resulted. Several nearby homes were damaged, and gas company workers and fireman who were on the scene at the time were injured. Thankfully no one lost his or her life in this incident.
What To Do in the Aftermath of a Gas Pipeline Accident
All of us rely upon gas companies to ensure that the pipelines they use to carry gas to residential and business customers are in proper working order. However, as these incidents demonstrate, we cannot always place our faith in gas companies to do the right thing. When their negligence leads to an accident, as it did in California and New Jersey, those who are affected have a right to pursue compensation for the damage that was caused.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a gas pipeline accident caused by a gas company’s negligence, or if you’re a gas company employee who’s been injured as a result of your employer’s negligence, then you should get in touch with a qualified attorney. Our team at Heavens Law is especially skilled and experienced at handling these kinds of cases, and we’re here to help you get the fullest compensation that’s due to you.