Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

Improving Response Procedures to Natural Gas Emergencies

Issue 3 and Volume 170.

By Jerry Knapp and Daniel Moran The contractor was using an underground boring tool when he hit and penetrated the plastic two-inch, 60-pound natural gas street main in a residential area of modular row houses. This pneumatically powered boring device pounded its way through the soil, tunneling from a trench on one side and under the roadway to the other side to reduce the cost of installing, in this case, a communication line. Natural gas leaked for an undetermined time and eventually leaked back into one of the nearby homes. The West Haverstraw (NY) Fire Department responded to this incident on January 16, 2012. Knapp: My captain and I were checking nearby homes for gas with a four-gas meter, a common task for fire departments. The gas company technicians had been on the scene almost as long as the fire department, about 45 minutes prior to the explosion. We had…

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