Gas Leak Leads to Fatal Explosion in Apartment Building


Natural Gas Expert WitnessThis case involves an explosion in a small apartment building that killed an elderly female tenant in Arkansas. On the day of the incident, a resident of the building called the utility company regarding a suspected natural gas leak. The utility company failed to find the source of the leak, however they chose not to notify the fire department or building management about the potential leak. Within the next hour, one of the apartments on the lower floor of the apartment building exploded. After the explosion, it was discovered that the cause of the explosion was likely a negligently installed gas meter located directly outside of the deceased resident’s apartment.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What is your experience with natural gas risers and/or meters?

Expert Witness Response E-012471

I have experience with the design of natural gas systems for residential properties so I am very familiar with natural gas risers, meters, compression fittings, and couplings. I design the systems and then typically a contractor installs them directly. Additionally, I am on the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Technical Committee for the National Fuel Gas Code. Our primary responsibility is to make changes and updates to the code, which covers the installation and operation of fuel gas piping systems, appliances, equipment, and related accessories, with rules for piping systems materials and components, piping system testing and purging, combustion and ventilation air supply, and venting of gas-fired appliances and equipment. Obviously a gas leak should never occur due to negligence in the installation of gas equipment.

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