Local firefighters issue safety measures for buildings with natural gas lines


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL/ABC-Tri-Cities) – Local firefighters explained that a deadly home explosion in North Carolina serves as an important reminder about natural gas dangers.

Charlotte investigators believe a natural gas leak fueled the explosion last week that killed a woman, injured her husband and leveled their home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, data shows gas leaks or breaks resulted in more than 4,000 home fires a year from 2007 to 2011, with gas fires killing more than 160 people, per year during that same time frame.

It is important to note that responsibility for any natural gas piping on your property falls on the homeowner or business owner.

If a buried pipe is not checked periodically, its prone to potential hazards, corrosion or leaks.

Those who plan to do some deep digging always call 811 before doing so.

Captain Gary Russell with the Bristol, Virginia Fire Department said in the past, there have been contractors and homeowners who start to dig and eventually hit a gas line, which results in a leak.

He explained if you do smell gas, you are asked to leave the building immediately.

“It takes something as little as a light switch as an ignition source to cause an explosion,” Captain Gary Russell said. “Let us to know to know that everybody is accounted for at that point, so we don’t have to go under extreme measures and we can control the leak immediately.”

Atmos Energy recomments if you have natural gas in your home, pay attention for a rotting egg smell. The company puts this odorant so that people are aware that there is a gas leak.

If you smell this get out of building immediately, and call 911.

Beware of a hissing or whistling sound near the gas line, and get an annual inspection on natural gas or propane appliances in your home such as chimneys, gas pipes and vents.

If you recognize a leak, these are the steps you should follow, according to Atmos Energy.

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