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Christmas Eve explosion & fire still under investigation

Fires or explosions can devastate families around the holidays and during the winter months. While some fires or explosions are born from manmade acts of negligence, others are caused by a defective product or manufacturing issue that was eventually bound to prove costly. If you've been injured in fires or explosions, you may have a personal injury claim against a manufacturer or an owner or landlord of a property.

The investigation into a Christmas Eve explosion is still ongoing after it left about a dozen people displaced the night before Christmas in Washington County, PA. Investigators say the pipeline originate in Marshall County, West Virginia and takes ethane to Houston, PA. Since Christmas day, the company has had experts in to assess the damage and attempt to gain an understanding of the cause of the explosion.

Neighbors of victims say that the explosion's flames were so big and bright that they lit the sky orange, and that the explosion was so incredibly loud that homes for a quarter mile in all directions shook.

One witness told reporters that she went upstairs to get ready for bed and felt her house shake; when she came downstairs, she looked out the window and described "...a big ball of fire blowing up..." The neighbor further added that she and her family did not want to be in their home the rest of the evening for fear that their home might be next and expressed concern that they didn't always live in such fear, but that fracking has changed their lives.

A spokesperson for Williams' Pipeline Control told reporters that the explosion happened at around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and that the company responded by closing the main line valve to the Ohio Valley Ethane Pipeline to stop producing flow which could cause more accidents. Employees of Williams spent the night depressurizing the facility until the fire was contained and evacuated about a dozen homes in the area as a precaution. They were allowed to return to their homes shortly after midnight.

No injuries were reported in the explosion or subsequent fires, but the amount of property damage has not yet been assessed. Williams is said to have notified the appropriate regulatory agencies and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection has already been to the site to assess the incident's damages, but what exactly caused the explosion remains under investigation and insurance companies will not deal with claimants until that assessment has been made.

If you're the victim of fires or explosions, call the Pittsburgh fires or explosions personal injury and property damage attorneys at Goodrich & Geist today at 412-766-1455 for a free consultation.

Source: CBS Pittsburgh, "Pipeline Explosion Pushes Residents Out Of Homes On Christmas Eve" 25 December 2014 (updated 5 January 2015)

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