Natural Gas Explosions in Texas Brings Forth a Series of New Bills
Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 3:21 pm
Following a number of deadly natural gas company explosions in Texas, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed a series of bills that will help increase oversight of natural gas companies in Texas.
A Series of Serious Explosions
In January of 2018, a family in North Texas was lucky to escape serious injuries when their home exploded. According to NBCDFW, hours before the explosion, the family already reported the smell of natural gas and a crew from Atmos Energy arrived to investigate.
The crew dug up the road in front of the house to find the leak while the family remained inside their home. Despite the lingering smell of natural gas, officials told them that it is safe for them to stay inside. By 3 AM, they’d asked the workers if it was still safe for them to stay because they were worried about the still-apparent smell of natural gas in the air. The workers said that there is no reason for them to evacuate.
Assured, the family went back to sleep but two hours later, they were awoken with the sound of an explosion and their house on fire.
In Stephenville, Texas, Russell McElyea suffered severe burns when his home exploded. The incident happened in the summer of 2017 when McElyea’s friend, Raul Pedroza lit the stove to cook lunch. There was an explosion, and McElyea still managed to carry his friend out the front door before the back of the house exploded. According to the two friends, they didn’t smell gas before they light up the stove.
A 12-year-old girl, Linda Michellita Rogers, also died last year in a home explosion that was linked to a gas leak.
Atmos Energy Fined
State regulators have fined Atmos Energy $16,000 over safety violations that led to the Irving house explosion last year.
For McElyea and Pedroza’s situations, the case against Atmos Energy is still ongoing.
Rep. Anchia said that there are two bill groups — the first group deals with the Railroad Commission as an effective regulator while the second group will deal with the operators of natural gas pipelines that aim to reduce the risk of explosions. The bills are also said to increase transparency both at the Railroad Commission level and among operators. Through this, individuals may check their neighborhoods for leaks and report them immediately to gas companies.
Rep. Anchia also said that rusted, corroded, or faulty pipes in the state must be immediately replaced and infrastructure should meet 21st century standards.
Another important part of Anchia’s legislation would require gas companies to report leaks to the public in real-time through an interactive map.
Gas explosions often result in traumatic and fatal injuries, and severe burns frequently affect the quality of life of the victim.
In most cases, these explosions can easily be traced to the negligence of an individual or company. However, in the case of the Texas explosions that were mentioned, there is a strong possibility that the company is at fault.
Either way, having the right legal representation to help you recover from a gas explosion is very important. The legal team at Williams Kherkher has experienced natural gas explosion attorneys that can help you get the compensation and justice that you are entitled to if another party is at fault.
We have dealt with many natural gas explosions over the last 30 years and would be honored to help you and your family fight for your right to live an explosion-free life.
We offer free consultations which you can start by calling us today at (888) 220-0640.