Causes of Natural Gas Explosions in Restaurants

by | May 15, 2024 | Explosion, Gas Leak Injuries, Natural Gas Explosions, Premises Liability, Product Liability, Workplace Explosion

Natural gas, a ubiquitous energy source in restaurants, powers stoves, ovens, and heating systems, making it indispensable to culinary operations. However, alongside its efficiency, natural gas poses inherent risks, particularly the threat of explosions. Natural gas explosions in restaurants can lead to devastating consequences, including property damage, injuries, and loss of life.

For those who work in the restaurant industry, it is incredibly important to understand the role of natural gas, and the possible causes of natural gas explosions. Furthermore, understanding the risks and potential causes it crucial to ensure the safety of employees and patrons alike.

Below, the natural gas explosion attorneys at Kherkher Garcia explore the common causes of natural gas explosions in restaurants, as well as the impact on employees, patrons, and communities.

What are Common Causes of Natural Gas Explosions in Restaurants?

Natural gas explosions in restaurants can occur for a variety of reasons. Sadly, most often, explosions could be avoided with proper maintenance, supervision, and training. Some of the more common causes of these explosions include:

Gas Leaks

One of the primary culprits behind natural gas explosions is leaks within the restaurant’s gas lines. These leaks can occur due to various reasons, including aging infrastructure, improper installation, or damage from external factors such as construction work or seismic activity. Even minor leaks can accumulate gas in confined spaces, creating a volatile environment primed for explosion.

Equipment Malfunctions

Faulty or poorly maintained gas-powered equipment, such as stoves, ovens, and water heaters, can also trigger explosions. Malfunctions may stem from worn-out components, improper installation, or inadequate ventilation. Regular inspections and maintenance routines are essential to detect and rectify equipment issues before they escalate into potential hazards.

Human Error

In busy restaurant environments, human error can inadvertently contribute to gas-related accidents. Negligent actions like failing to shut off gas valves properly, disregarding safety protocols, or mishandling gas-powered appliances can escalate into catastrophic events. Comprehensive training programs for staff members regarding gas safety procedures and protocols can mitigate the risk of human error.

Improper Ventilation

Inadequate ventilation systems can lead to the accumulation of gas vapors, increasing the likelihood of explosions. Poor ventilation not only traps flammable gases but also diminishes air quality, posing health risks to occupants. Properly designed and maintained ventilation systems are crucial for dissipating gas buildup and ensuring a safe indoor environment.

External Factors

Environmental factors beyond the restaurant’s control can also contribute to gas explosions. Natural disasters like earthquakes or floods may damage gas pipelines, causing leaks or ruptures. Additionally, nearby construction activities or excavation work can inadvertently damage underground gas lines, posing immediate dangers to nearby establishments.

Corrosion and Degradation

Over time, gas pipelines and equipment are susceptible to corrosion and degradation, particularly in regions with harsh environmental conditions. Corrosion weakens the integrity of gas lines, making them more prone to leaks and ruptures. Regular inspections, maintenance, and, if necessary, replacement of aging infrastructure are critical preventive measures.

Ignition Sources

In the presence of a flammable gas-air mixture, ignition sources such as open flames, sparks, electrical equipment, or even static electricity can trigger explosions. Ignition sources may originate from within the restaurant, such as pilot lights or faulty electrical appliances, or external sources like nearby fires or lightning strikes.

Pressure Buildup

Excessive pressure buildup within gas lines can result from factors like overpressurization, thermal expansion, or blockages. Elevated pressure levels increase the likelihood of gas leaks and pipeline failures, potentially culminating in explosive incidents. Monitoring and regulating gas pressure within safe limits are essential preventive measures.

Lack of Awareness

In some cases, a lack of awareness or complacency regarding gas safety protocols among restaurant staff and management can exacerbate the risk of explosions. Ignorance of warning signs, failure to conduct regular inspections, or disregarding maintenance schedules can leave establishments vulnerable to potential disasters.

What Injuries Often Occur in Natural Gas Explosions in Restaurants?

In natural gas explosions in restaurants, the injuries sustained can vary widely in severity depending on factors such as the proximity to the explosion, the force of the blast, and the safety measures in place. Some common injuries that often occur in such incidents include:


Burns are among the most prevalent injuries in natural gas explosions. The intense heat generated by the explosion can cause first, second, or even third-degree burns to exposed skin. These burns can be not only painful but also lead to long-term complications such as scarring and disfigurement.

Traumatic Injuries

The force of the explosion can propel individuals and objects, leading to traumatic injuries such as fractures, lacerations, and blunt force trauma. Flying debris and collapsing structures pose significant risks, potentially causing severe injuries to those in the vicinity.

Respiratory Injuries

Inhalation of smoke, gases, and airborne particles resulting from the explosion can cause respiratory injuries ranging from irritation to severe lung damage. Inhalation of toxic gases like carbon monoxide can be particularly dangerous and may lead to asphyxiation or long-term respiratory complications.

Head and Brain Injuries

Individuals near the explosion may suffer head injuries due to impact from debris or concussive forces. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result from blunt trauma or sudden acceleration/deceleration forces, leading to cognitive impairment, memory loss, or other neurological deficits.

Eye Injuries

Flying debris, heat, and chemical exposure during a gas explosion can cause eye injuries such as corneal abrasions, chemical burns, and foreign body penetration. These injuries may range from minor irritation to severe damage requiring immediate medical attention.

Eardrum Injuries

The pressure wave generated by the explosion can rupture eardrums, causing pain, hearing loss, and balance issues. Eardrum injuries may occur even in individuals who are not in direct proximity to the blast but are within its range of influence.

Psychological Trauma

In addition to physical injuries, survivors of natural gas explosions often experience psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and survivor’s guilt. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event of such magnitude can have long-lasting effects on mental health.

Crush Injuries

Collapse of structures or heavy objects during the explosion can result in crush injuries, where body parts are trapped or compressed under significant weight. These injuries can lead to tissue damage, compartment syndrome, and, in severe cases, limb amputation.

Internal Injuries

The blast wave from a natural gas explosion can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and ruptured blood vessels. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can worsen over time without prompt medical intervention.

Secondary Infections

Burn injuries and open wounds sustained during a natural gas explosion are susceptible to secondary infections, including bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Proper wound care and infection control measures are crucial to prevent complications and promote healing.

Natural gas explosions in restaurants can result in a wide range of injuries, from burns and traumatic injuries to respiratory and psychological trauma. Prompt medical attention and comprehensive treatment are essential for minimizing the long-term impact of these injuries and facilitating recovery for survivors.

Can Victims of a Natural Gas Explosion in a Restaurant File a Lawsuit?

Yes, victims of a natural gas explosion in a restaurant can potentially file a lawsuit, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and the applicable laws in their jurisdiction. Here are some scenarios in which victims may pursue legal action:


If the natural gas explosion occurred due to the negligence of the restaurant owner, operator, or other parties responsible for maintaining a safe environment, victims may have grounds for a lawsuit. Examples of negligence could include failure to properly maintain gas lines and equipment, inadequate training of staff on gas safety protocols, or disregard for building and fire safety regulations. Both employees and patrons can file lawsuits due to negligence.

Product Liability

If the explosion was caused by a defect in gas-related equipment or components, such as a faulty stove or gas valve, victims may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the defective product. Product liability laws hold manufacturers accountable for ensuring the safety of their products and may entitle victims to compensation for injuries and damages resulting from product defects.

Premises Liability

Restaurants have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for patrons and employees. If the explosion was caused by a hazardous condition on the restaurant’s property, such as a gas leak or faulty ventilation system, victims may have a premises liability claim against the property owner or operator. Premises liability laws impose a duty of care on property owners to address known hazards and prevent foreseeable risks of harm to visitors.

Wrongful Death

In cases where individuals are killed as a result of the natural gas explosion, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against responsible parties. Wrongful death claims seek compensation for the loss of financial support, companionship, and other damages resulting from the death of a loved one due to another party’s negligence or wrongful conduct.

Getting Help with a Natural Gas Explosion Injury

It is important for victims of a natural gas explosion in a restaurant to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate their legal options and determine the best course of action. An attorney can investigate the circumstances of the incident, gather evidence, and advocate on behalf of the victims to pursue fair compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Whether you are a restaurant employee, a patron, or a bystander injured in a natural gas explosion, the team at Kherkher Garcia can help. Our natural gas explosion attorneys have more than three decades of experience. We have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of clients injured due to negligence, defective products, and more.

If you or a loved one is battling injuries due to a natural gas explosion in a restaurant, contact us for a free injury consultation. Call us at 713-333-1030, or complete our online contact form to get started.

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Kevin Haynes

Kevin Haynes

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Kevin Haynes. Kevin has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 15 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Kevin is powerful and effective in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road.

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