Any explosion involving natural gas tends to cause extensive injury to both people and property. But what if the explosion could have been prevented? A Pennsylvania utility company is facing massive fines after an underground gas pipe with a crack exploded in 2011 and killed five people and damaged numerous homes.
Philadelphia premises liability lawyers point out that certain circumstances that make a property unsafe can indicate negligence, making financial recovery possible after an accident. The explosion was investigated and state officials found an old work order that recommended that the pipe in question be replaced. The work order was dated December 1979, but the pipe was never replaced.
The utility company claims that the work order refers to a different section of pipe than the one that cracked. Until this accident, the pipes were scheduled to be replaced every 50 years. A new mandate by the utility company will have all gas pipes replaced every 14 years.
Proving negligence on or under a property can be difficult, but identifying a dangerous condition is the first step. After that, it needs to be determined if the owner of the property created the condition, knew about the condition and failed to make it safe, or the condition existed for a long time and the owner should have known about it and fixed it.
Several of the families of those killed in the blast have pursued wrongful death lawsuits. When a loved one is injured or killed, surviving family members can consider seeking legal help to help them recover after a terrible accident. A lawsuit can help survivors move forward financially after the trauma of such a great loss.
Source: Lehigh Valley Express-Times, “Pennsylvania ups UGI fine over Allentown explosion; mayor wants gas pipes replaced faster,” Precious Petty, Jan. 24, 2013