State Fire Marshal Completes Investigation on Sweetwater Explosion
Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 at 4:44 pm
A home on Tanya Street in Sweetwater, TX exploded over the weekend. Cellphone footage showed the house smoldering as it was engulfed in flames.
A gas leak was the main cause of the explosion and destroyed the home of Harry and Viv Littleton.
The couple was inside their house on Saturday when the gas line spontaneously exploded. The two of them and their dog Sugar were able to escape the blast with minor injuries.
Harry said that they stepped out and walked across glass and nails.
The Sweetwater Fire Department on Monday morning said that the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office had finished their initial investigation of the incident. According to the fire officials, the Littletons hired a contractor to work on their gas line recently. They also said that the explosion was caused by a gas leak in the attic.
Investigators would not release the contractor’s identity.
Atmos Energy said they took readings in the area surrounding the Littleton’s home after the explosion. They also turned the gas off at one of the homes in the neighborhood that had a leak unrelated to Saturday’s accident.
Starting Over Again for the Littletons
Meanwhile, the Littletons are now looking to rebuild their home and lives. They may have lost their belongings in the explosion, but still have each other. And that’s all that matters to them.
Gas Leak Explosions in Texas Dating Back to 2006
Since 2006 a number of homes in north and central Texas have blown up along a network of pipelines operated by one of the largest gas companies in the United States.This led to nine deaths and 22 injuries.
The Atmos Energy Corp. has some of the country’s oldest pipes and largest divisions. One of these divisions, Atmos Mid-Tex, has received many state safety violations as Houston’s Centerpoint. These safety violations have been denied by Atmos Energy, stating that said violations cited by state regulators have already been fixed. They also said in a statement that their employees “wake up every day resolutely dedicated to our mission to keep people safe.”
Records show that Atmos Energy seldon owns up for explosion incidents, putting blame on outside sources such as bad weather, poor soil conditions in North Texas, lightning strikes, and mysterious sources of underground gas. As for the older pipes, the company said they pipes aren’t sources of issues and that there was only one incident that occurred involving pre-140 pipes.
“Although we’d like to replace all older pipelines immediately, just like with replacing older roads and bridges, replacing pipe takes time and resources,” the company said in a statement.
How to Prevent Gas Leaks
Checking your home for gas leaks is crucial. Neglecting this can cause accidents and fires. Causes of leaks include appliances with poor ventilation, appliances that were not properly installed, and faulty pipes.
- Regularly check your appliances – Check your appliances regularly and make sure they are in good condition. Replace appliances showing wear and tear.
- Watch for the signs of leaks – The number one sign of a leak is when you smell the gas in the air or in different parts of your house. Likewise, be aware of appliances that have components that look burnt.
- Monitor your gas lines – Call a trusted professional to look into your gas lines. Make sure to get the report of your gas appliances.
- Turn off the gas supply if you notice a leak.
- Do not smoke – Especially if you can smell a hint of gas at your home.
Losing Someone in an Explosion Accident
Explosions don’t just happen in industrial plants. You or your loved one might be at risk of gas leaks at home and sometimes these incidents happen due to another party’s negligence.
Nevertheless, if you have been injured or lost a loved in a gas explosion, Williams Kherkher is here to help. We have been handling cases covering explosion accidents in Texas, workplace injury, and vehicle accidents for over 30 years. Visit our office or contact us today for a free consultation. (713) 230-2200.