Columbus, OH

Columbus Home Explodes Due to Natural Gas

Liz Fe Lifestyle

A home exploded in South Columbus due to a natural gas leak located in the attic space, the Columbus Division of Fire confirmed on Tuesday. Columbus Fire responded to the fire at 2704 Shelly Drive around 12:44 p.m. on Sunday, November 14. One person was taken to the Ohio State University Hospital in stable condition. No one else was reported to have any injuries.

Natural gas is a common resource that’s used in homes. Leaks are considered to be very dangerous because they can build into an explosive concentration like what happened in this home. Along with causing explosions and fires, natural gas leaks can also kill vegetation and trees, and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Natural gas leaks in your home might not have any physical signs or smells. Some signs could be if you notice a damaged gas pipe, or if you see multiple dead houseplants. If there is a smell, it will resemble rotten eggs and sulfur. Near the gas line, you might notice a white or dust cloud, and a whistling or hissing sound. If you have a leak that’s going unnoticed, it may also increase your gas bill.

Gas leaks cause a reduction in oxygen which can lead to certain physical symptoms. Symptoms include: ringing in your ears, reduced appetite, pain in the chest, nosebleeds, blistering or pale skin, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. If you’re experiencing multiple of these symptoms in your home, you may have natural gas poisoning. Your pets can also be affected and may show symptoms like vomiting, breathing difficulties, lethargy, or a loss of appetite. If you or your pets have these symptoms, leave the area and contact a gas professional and your doctor.

Pay attention to your symptoms as you move around your home from room to room. Be aware of how you feel as you enter and exit each room. If you develop a headache as soon as you come home, you may have a gas leak. For mild gas leaks, turn pilot lights off, open your windows, and contact your gas company. They’ll tell you how to proceed and if your gas meter needs to be turned off. If you notice that you have symptoms and your house has a strong odor, leave immediately. You don’t want to be inside in case the leak causes an explosion. Call the emergency number for your utility company. If your symptoms are severe, go to the emergency room. Don’t let the situation go unreported.

If there’s an emergency and you do have to turn your gas off, you’ll have to locate your natural gas meter. It’s a good idea to know where this is already in case you do have an emergency. It can be underground, in a cabinet, under the house, or there may be multiple meters. Only turn off natural gas if you can smell it or hear it escaping. To turn it off, you’ll locate the shut-off valve. Use a wrench that’s 12-inch or bigger, and turn the valve ¼ in either direction. Turn it until it’s crosswire to your pipe. Wait for a certified professional to tell you if you can turn the gas back on.

Never try to repair a gas leak on your own. Always call and wait for help. Don’t keep your doors closed or make calls from your home. During a leak, don’t use household appliances or turn the lights on and off.

Try to always have a fire extinguisher in your home as well as heat and smoke detectors in case you do experience a leak that evolves into a fire. Keep flammables and chemicals away from your gas appliances. Have your gas lines, chimneys, vents, furnaces, and gas appliances inspected every year by qualified professionals.

On average, natural gas leaks cause $133 million in property damage and 17 fatalities every year. Gas leaks typically are caused by gas pipes bending and warping from old age. Older pipes made from materials like cash iron are more at risk. Frequent usage of gas lines can cause hairline fractures over time. Other leaks are caused by home supply lines coming partially unseated from appliances. If you live in an area like California, earthquakes can make this more likely to happen. It’s a good idea to have an emergency earthquake shutoff valve installed on your gas pipes.

If you suspect a leak, leave the area and contact 911 and Dominion Energy Ohio at 877-542-2630. Reporting a gas leak can’t be done online. Gas leaks in Ohio are fairly common, but it’s important to handle the issue before it turns into something big. It’s estimated that an average of 4,200 home fires in the U.S are caused by natural gas each year. These fires cause an average of 40 deaths each year. Local fire departments in the U.S respond to an average of 340 gas leaks per day with no ignition. By catching a leak before it starts a fire, you can protect your home and your family from a much bigger threat.

Since 2007, the incidents involving natural gas leaks in homes have been increasing. It’s important to take safety precautions to ensure that if you do have a natural gas leak, it doesn’t turn into an ignition or an explosion. Make sure your fire detectors are working, and always keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, as this is the area where most natural gas fires happen. It’s also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector because carbon monoxide can easily go undetected and can kill fast. Always have your gas pipes routinely inspected, and keep an eye out if you or your family members start to feel sick in your home out of the blue. Also, make sure to check for any weird smells or noises. Doing so can help prevent a horrid explosion like the one in South Columbus.

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