Gas Leaks Common Occurrence this time of Year
BY MELANIE BUCK –
A home in Hatfield is a complete loss after it exploded overnight due to a gas leak. The house, which sits next to Hatfield Library and in front of the Hatfield Gymnasium, woke area residents when it exploded around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 2, 2016.
Matthew Orris, a Hatfield Volunteer Firefighter, lives just one block from the home and said he physically felt the blast. “When it exploded, I didn’t just hear it, I felt it,” said Orris. Hatfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to the blast and suppressed the flames, however, the home was fully engulfed and nothing was able to be salvaged. A storage building adjacent to the home was also lost.
The home is owned by a couple that lives out of town and used the home on weekends. It was reported they had been at the house over the weekend and had turned the heater on. Unbeknownst to the owners, there was an apparent gas leak, which built up to the state of explosion by the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The fire rekindled around 11:30 a.m. and firefighters once again responded to quelch the flames.
Ironically, at the same time of the rekindle, another home in Hatfield reported a gas leak. Although there were no fires or injuries, both serve as a reminder to check for gas leaks, especially when firing up heaters for the first time each year.
In addition to causing fire and explosion hazards, gas leaks can kill vegetation, including large trees, and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Centerpoint Energy, a large supplier of Natural gas in the Polk County area has safety tips listed on their website if a gas leak is suspected.
When you smell gas of any kind, immediately leave the area on foot. Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), drive or start a car or anything that could cause a spark; Go directly to a safe location and call 911. Do not use e-mail or the Internet to contact the company about a leak, and never assume someone else has reported the leak; Alert your neighbors; Never try to repair a natural gas leak yourself. Leave all repairs to a trained technician.
You can see more safety tips at: www.centerpointenergy.com.