People in cities and rural areas alike use natural gas to heat and power their homes and businesses, as well as to cook. Although a beneficial energy source, natural gas sometimes causes fires and explosions, which result in serious injuries or death. According to the National Fire Protection Association, natural gas ignitions start an average of 4,200 home structure fires needing fire department response across the U.S. each year.
Understanding the causes and prevention of such home disasters may help people to protect themselves, their families and their residences.
Common causes of natural gas fires
Numerous factors contribute to natural gas fires and explosions. Some of the most common of these include the following:
- Line leaks or breaks
- Worn out parts
- Control failures
- Heat source issues in heating and cooking equipment
Natural gas fires resulting from these and other factors may cause serious injuries or death for people in the area when they occur.
Prevention of natural gas explosions
According to The Dallas Morning News, taking safety precautions may help homeowners prevent some natural gas fires and explosions. Keeping natural gas appliances and gas pipes in working order may help avoid some natural gas accidents caused by mechanical failures. Homeowners often benefit by having their appliances and pipes checked annually by a certified technician or licensed plumber to catch wear and tear before it causes serious issues.
Although colorless, natural gas puts off a noticeable odor, which some describe as smelling like rotten eggs. If people smell natural gas, they should refrain from turning on lights, using garage doors, striking matches or other actions that may cause a spark and ignite the gas. The first line of defense, when they notice the smell of gas, homeowners should notify the appropriate authorities to have the area checked for a leak.
When natural gas fires occur due to local failures to maintain public pipes, homeowners may consider options for seeking financial compensation.