Natural gas has become a mainstay in Pennsylvania homes and businesses. However, its unstable nature still makes for a recipe for disaster and trauma.
Investigators have narrowed down the possible causes of a recent explosion to that of a gas leak. The explosion injured nine people and left two elderly people in critical condition. Investigators have now shifted their focus to determining the starting point of the leak. The blast quickly turned into a three-alarm fire that called for the evacuation of families residing in homes nearby.
Some neighbors recall smelling gas in recent days before the blast. The local utility company was called to the neighborhood shortly before the explosion to investigate complaints of a gas odor. The odor check was completed when the preliminary tests did not produce any gas readings.
One of the victims recalls being in the house with his stepsons and his girlfriend's mother, while his girlfriend was outside with three other children; he screamed for his stepsons to get out, while he tried to help his girlfriend's seriously injured mother. He made his way outside to call for help. The men who rushed into the house were able to save the life of the injured woman.
Fortunately, it seems the cause of the fire has been determined. However, the origin of the gas leak is still under investigation. Knowing the cause of an explosion or fire brings victims of trauma part of the way toward closure. But naming the origins of a fire brings about the ability to assign liability and to possibly obtain deserved compensation. Once an investigation is carried out and a person or entity is assigned responsibility for a fire or explosion, people affected by the disaster may want to seek legal assistance.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Officials believe gas caused Dorchester home explosion," Evan Allen and Pat Greenhouse, April 17, 2014