Natural Gas Explosions in SC – Who is Liable?

by | Jun 15, 2018 | Personal Injury |

A gas company last month settled a lawsuit brought by the families of two men who were killed when a house exploded last year.

Investigators determined that the blast happened when odorless gas from a pipeline that was believed to be abandoned leaked into the basement of the house.

The explosion in Colorado led the governor to call for a review of the state’s gas and oil industry, and at least two gas companies shut down thousands of these “abandoned” lines.

Also last year, a gas company worker in Pennsylvania died when a gas explosion destroyed a house. He was part of a crew that had responded to reports of a strong smell of gas at the home.  

Unfortunately, South Carolina residents are not immune to the dangers of gas lines and natural gas – even if they don’t have gas lines in their home. A Lancaster home was destroyed and five others damaged (some of which did not have their own gas lines) in a 2014 gas explosion. Luckily, no one was injured in that accident.

How Do Natural Gas Explosions Happen?

While negligence is often a factor in gas accidents, determining exactly what happened and who is responsible can be difficult.

Explosions happen when a gas leak meets a flame, spark, or another source of ignition. When a faulty residential line has a leak, this can be as simple as someone lighting a burner or striking a match in a home. Faulty lines are often the result of negligence on the part of the gas company.

But, sometimes a third party damages gas lines, like when a private contractor in Columbia, SC ruptured a line while digging to install communication lines in 2013. The leak led to a fire, customers losing service, and authorities evacuating a downtown area while SC Electric and Gas crews made repairs.

A deadly house explosion in Massachusetts offers an example of the potential complexity of these cases. The gas crew that responded to reports of a leak waved off firefighters just minutes before the explosion. Investigators speculated that the damage to the line may have been caused by construction crews – 40 years ago. Should the gas crew be held responsible for turning away firefighters? Should construction crews be held responsible after several decades? Should the gas company have discovered the damage and repaired it?

In some cases, it can be difficult to determine if the leak and subsequent explosion were caused by faulty installation or maintenance, a product defect, damage caused by a third party, or all of the above.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney at Coastal Law Help?

If you have been injured or you have suffered property damage from a gas leak or explosion, call a SC natural gas explosion attorney immediately. While negligence is often a factor in gas accidents, determining exactly what happened and who is responsible can be difficult – we will investigate the accident and help you to find the right experts who can help to determine who is liable and the amount of damages that they must pay you.

Natural Gas Explosion and Personal Injury Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, SC

If you want to see what it looks like when a gas blast destroys a house, check out this video of a New Jersey home exploding.

If you’ve suffered damage or injuries from a natural gas explosion, call Coastal Law now at (843) 488-5000 or you can send us a message to speak with an experienced Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer.

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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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Conway, SC 29526

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Charleston, SC 29401

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1201 Main Street, Suite 1913
Columbia, SC 29201

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