Luckily, no one was injured when a natural gas leak sparked an explosion that destroyed a Ripley home.
Fire investigators ruled the cause was related to a gas line break the home's owner had repaired himself in December 2012. Over the course of the past several months the ground where the repair was made had settled, causing the repaired section to break loose and a direct gas leak underground. The ground then became saturated with natural gas, which caused the gas to permeate through the basement of the home. Eventually, the gas in the basement mixed with the air to the point it could be ignited by a pilot light on the home's hot water tank.
Now is the time of year when we all begin turning on long-dormant natural gas heating systems. National Fuel Gas recommends hiring an approved contractor to inspect the following areas for safe use of natural gas as we enter the heating season:
Check heat exchangers for cracks, rust and corrosion.
Clean and check the flue and vent pipes for any obstructions, corrosion or pipe separations.
Check your heating system for proper ventilation.
Clean or replace all furnace filters.
Check blower operation, clean and lubricate.
Check and adjust any pilots and burners.
Check that your gas appliances produce a sharp blue flame.
Check all electrical connections and controls.
Finally, always keep flammable materials outdoors, in approved containers and away from your furnace, water heater and all other natural gas appliances. And, we should note, always have outdoors gas line repairs done by a licensed professional.
It may take a little additional time and money, but the cost is worth preventing a disaster.