NTSB Investigates Damaged Gas Line after Ohio Explosion

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Explosion, Gas Leak Injuries, Natural Gas Explosions, Pipeline Explosions, Workplace Explosion

In a significant development following a devastating explosion in Youngstown, Ohio last week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Thursday that a damaged natural gas line was discovered in the basement area of the severely damaged building. The cut gas line certainly may have contributed to the explosion, however, exact cause of the blast remains under investigation.

Read below to learn more about the NTSB findings, as well as information about the risks of damaged gas lines. The gas line explosion lawyers at Kherkher Garcia also provide insight into what you can do to protect yourself and your rights if a gas line explosion occurs.

Discovery and Initial Findings

The explosion at a Chase Bank branch in Youngstown severely damaged the ground floor. The blast resulted in the tragic death of a bank employee, and injuries to several others. The explosion caused part of the ground floor to collapse into the basement and propelled the building’s façade across the street. Debris including bricks and glass was strewn across the sidewalk outside the 13-story building.

Pipeline and hazardous materials investigators from the NTSB arrived on the scene on Thursday to assess the damage, which Chapman described as “devastating — really stunning.” The investigation team is expected to remain on-site for about a week, with a preliminary report anticipated within 30 days.

During a news conference, NTSB board member Tom Chapman revealed that the damaged gas line, which was not supposed to contain gas, was found to be pressurized. This line branched off the main service line and led to the building, but was not intended to service it.

Chapman stated that investigators are exploring whether third-party work to remove old infrastructure in the basement might have resulted in the line being cut and subsequently led to the explosion. The reason behind the pressurization of the line is also under scrutiny. At this stage, Chapman indicated there is no evidence to suggest foul play regarding the cut line.

The investigation continues as authorities work to uncover the circumstances leading to the explosion and ensure the safety of the affected area.

What are Some Common Reasons for Cut or Damaged Gas Lines?

Gas lines can be cut for various reasons, often resulting from accidental or deliberate actions. Some common reasons include:

  • Construction and Excavation Work: One of the most frequent causes is accidental damage during construction, excavation, or other types of digging activities. Workers may unintentionally cut gas lines while installing or repairing underground utilities, foundations, or landscaping.
  • Maintenance and Repair: During maintenance or repair work on other utilities or infrastructure, workers may inadvertently damage gas lines. This can happen when the location of the gas lines is not accurately marked or known.
  • Demolition: Buildings or structures being demolished may have gas lines that are not properly shut off or removed beforehand. This can lead to cuts and breaks in the lines.
  • Aging Infrastructure: Over time, gas lines can deteriorate due to corrosion, wear and tear, or environmental factors. This degradation can lead to weak points that are more susceptible to cuts or breaks during minor disturbances.
  • Errors in Marking: Errors in marking the locations of underground utilities can lead to accidental cuts. If gas lines are not properly marked, those performing excavation work may not know their exact locations.

Preventative measures, such as accurate mapping and marking of utility lines, using detection equipment before digging, and ensuring proper training for workers, can help reduce the risk of cutting gas lines.

What to do if You are Injured Due to a Damaged Gas Line

If you are injured due to a damaged gas line, it is important to take immediate and appropriate actions to ensure your safety and receive the necessary medical attention. Here are the steps you should follow:

Immediate Actions

  • Move to Safety: If you are in a hazardous area, try to move to a safe location away from the gas leak or the source of danger, if you are able to do so safely.
  • Call for Help: Dial emergency services (such as 911) to report the incident and request immediate medical assistance. Provide clear and concise information about your location, the nature of the injury, and any immediate dangers.
  • Avoid Ignition Sources: Do not use matches, lighters, or electrical appliances, as gas leaks can be highly flammable and any spark or flame could ignite the gas.

First Aid

  • Administer First Aid: If you or someone with you has first aid training, provide appropriate first aid measures for the injury. This could include:
    • For burns or cuts: Rinse with cool, clean water and cover with a sterile bandage.
    • For inhalation of gas: Move to fresh air immediately and monitor breathing. If breathing is difficult or has stopped, perform CPR if trained to do so.
  • Stay Calm: Keep yourself calm to avoid exacerbating any injuries and to think clearly about the next steps.

Seeking Medical Attention

  • Follow Medical Advice: Once emergency responders arrive, follow their instructions and accept medical treatment or transportation to a medical facility if necessary.
  • Inform Medical Personnel: Provide details about the gas leak and the circumstances of your injury to the medical personnel for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Reporting and Documentation

  • Report the Incident: After receiving immediate medical attention, report the incident to the relevant authorities such as the gas company, local utilities, and possibly your employer if it happened at work.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of the incident, including the date, time, location, circumstances, and any medical treatments received. Take photographs if possible and gather witness statements.

Legal and Follow-Up Actions

  • Contact Legal Help: Depending on the circumstances, you might need to consult with a lawyer to understand your rights and options for compensation or further actions.
  • Follow-Up Medical Care: Continue with any recommended medical follow-up and treatments. Keep all medical appointments and follow the advice of healthcare providers for recovery.
  • Preventive Measures: If the incident happened at home or work, take steps to ensure proper safety measures are in place to prevent future occurrences. This might involve professional inspections, repairs, and adherence to safety guidelines.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage the immediate aftermath of a gas line injury, ensure proper medical care, and take necessary actions for recovery and legal considerations.

Why You Should Contact a Lawyer after a Gas Line Injury

Contacting a lawyer after a gas line injury is crucial for several reasons. Here are some key points highlighting the importance of seeking legal counsel in such situations:

Understanding Your Rights

A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. They will explain the relevant laws and regulations, including those related to personal injury, property damage, and workplace safety if applicable.

Determining Liability

Identifying who is responsible for the gas line damage and subsequent injury can be complex. A lawyer can investigate the incident, gather evidence, and determine if the gas company, a contractor, property owner, or another party is liable for the damages.

Maximizing Compensation

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. This may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Current and future medical bills related to the injury.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for time off work due to the injury.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages for physical pain and emotional distress.
  • Property Damage: Costs related to any property damage caused by the incident.

Navigating Insurance Claims

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. A lawyer can handle communications with insurers on your behalf, ensuring that your claim is properly filed and negotiated. They will work to prevent insurance companies from offering settlements that are lower than what you deserve.

Legal Representation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer can represent you in court. They will build a strong case, present evidence, and advocate for your interests before a judge or jury.

Expert Advice and Resources

Lawyers have access to a network of experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and financial analysts, who can provide valuable testimony and support for your case.

Contacting a lawyer after a gas line injury provides you with the expertise and resources needed to navigate the legal complexities, determine liability, and pursue fair compensation. Legal counsel ensures that your rights are protected and that you receive the support and compensation necessary for your recovery and wellbeing.

Contact a Skilled Gas Line Explosion Lawyer

Gas line explosions result in catastrophic injuries, property damage, and emotional trauma. Navigating the complex legal landscape surrounding such incidents requires specialized expertise. If you or a loved one has been affected by a gas line explosion, contact the skilled gas line explosion lawyers at Kherkher Garcia.

At Kherkher Garcia, our lawyers ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. We will handle all aspects of the legal process, from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

To find out how we can help you after a gas line explosion injury, call us at 713-333-1030 for a free consultation. You can also reach out to us online via our website form.


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Steve Kherkher

Steve Kherkher

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Steve Kherkher. Steve has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 30 years. He has won $300 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured.

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