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Massive Gas Line Explosion Rocks San Francisco

Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 9:57 am    

A San Francisco gas line exploded around 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon in the Jordan Park neighborhood, swallowing the Hong Kong Lounge II restaurant and its upstairs units in flames. The spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) said multiple people were rescued during the incident. As of 3:35 p.m., the fire was out, though firefighters were still working on making sure the area was free from any secondary flashes.

The blaze from the gas line caused a column of fire that reached higher than the neighborhood’s buildings. While it burned, the SFFD worked to evacuate the area and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White noted that firefighters had to surround and douse the fire the best they could until Pacific Gas & Electric, the major energy company in Northern California, shut off the gas line. It took around two-and-a-half hours for PG&E to finally shut down the line.

By the time all the flames had been put out, four buildings had been affected.

Although cutting the line to the area affected the gas of over 300 people and electricity to over 2,500, PG&E considered shutting down a much bigger gas line, which would have made the gas outage cover the entire city.

Image via San Francisco Fire Department/Twitter

Stopping the Fire

To access the line to stop the flow of gas, PG&E crew were forced to dig underground. The company’s spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said they were able to stop the flow by pinching a 4-inch plastic gas line while also using a manual shut off.

Thankfully, there were no fatalities or injuries resulting from the blast and blaze, which is an even more remarkable feat when looking at the extensive damage done to the structure. While there was a moment of apprehension while looking for five missing workers, they were later found safe.

At this time, it is believed that the incident was caused by workers using a backhoe in front of the restaurant. While installing fiber optic cables for a nearby business, they apparently cut a natural gas line, resulting in the explosion.

Gas Line Explosions in the U.S.

While the exceptional emergency response to the San Francisco gas line explosion led to an astounding zero injuries or death, many involved in similar incidents around the country have not been so lucky.

In September of 2018, northern Massachusetts had a reported 50 homes catch fire from individual explosions covering three cities. Investigators to this event said that Columbia Gas didn’t tell workers to take pressure sensors offline before removing an old gas main from the system. That resulted in the sensors noticing the pressure drop, which told the system to increase pressure to the gas line. Mere moments after this occurrence, homes in North Andover, Andover, and Lawrence started exploding from the increased force in the pipes. One of the blasts caused a chimney to fall on top of an occupied vehicle, killing the driver. The Massachusetts explosions caused twenty-one injuries, two of which were firefighters.

On March 12, 2014, East Harlem shook shook when a gas explosion took down two five-story apartment buildings. A gas leak was identified as the cause of this blast. Eight people died, dozens were injured, and at least 100 families were displaced.

While incidents such as these used to demand much more attention from the news, gas line and gas pipeline accidents have become far more common in the U.S. since the early 2000’s. Rural, metropolitan, and suburban areas are all at risk from any number of errors caused by gas and energy distribution. These have lead to extensive deaths, injuries, and property damage across the country, and there may be little to slow down these occurrences as our culture becomes increasingly dependent on gas, oil, natural gas, electricity, and other forms of energy.

Seeking Legal Counsel for Compensation After a Gas Explosion

If you were injured in a gas explosion or fire, or a loved one was hurt or died in one, you may be offered a settlement by the company at fault for your pain and suffering. However, settlement amounts are determined by insurance companies, corporate lawyers, and their clients. Their best interest is rarely to ever fully rectify a situation. Instead, they are looking at their bottom line. And once someone accepts a settlement like this, they are also forced into waiving their rights to ever sue the company again should any long-term injuries or complications arise.

With over three decades of experience in cases involving workplace accidents, personal injuries, wrongful death, and serious explosions, the attorneys at Williams Kherkher will fight for your rights as the injured or bereaved to help you receive full compensation.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation where we will discuss the specifics of your case and determine your best course of action.  Call (713) 230-2200.  

 


Fort Worth Woman Killed in Recycling Plant Accident

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 8:39 pm    

A Fort Worth woman was tragically killed in a recycling plant accident on January 31.  A stack of one-ton recycled bales were unstable and two of them fell, crushing the woman instantly.  Officials at the recycling plant have said they will cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

A Similar Accident Killed A 42-Year-Old Man Just A Month Earlier

A month before the accident in Fort Worth, a man was also killed in a similar way. In another recycling plant, a group of recycled bales dislodged and fell on a 42-year-old man. These bales weighed 1000 lbs each and crushed him, killing him instantly.  

Whenever these types of fatal accidents happen, companies are required to report them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That organization then investigates the incident, how future accidents like those can be prevented, and if it was a preventable or unpreventable accident.   

Can The Family Of The Employee That Was Killed Receive Death Benefits?

Fortunately, the government requires companies to carry workman’s compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to protect employees in the case of a work-related injury or death. If they are injured then this type of insurance can cover medical costs and lost wages. When a death occurs it means that a spouse or children will usually be eligible to receive benefits.

Some of the purposes that the money received can be used for include covering the burial expenses of the deceased. For the widowed spouse, it can be used to pay for daily expenses to help replace the lost wages of the deceased until the living spouse remarries. In some cases, the living spouse can get a lump sum compensation.

Most people agree that the workman’s compensation is beneficial.  Although one of the primary drawbacks is the fact that under workman’s compensation the family of the deceased is usually not able to sue the company. This means that even if the company was found to be negligent, the family may not be able to sue for any additional compensation even though the accident was the company’s fault.

Compensation and Justice for a Loved One

Tragedies like these are devastating for a victim’s family. These accidents are often caused by negligence or unenforced work safety rules.   If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, call us for a free consultation.  You may be entitled to compensation.  We’ve been handling workplace accidents and explosions since 1983.  Call our lawyers at Williams Kherkher today at (888) 220-0640 to learn more about work-related deaths or injuries and what can be done to receive compensation and justice.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (888) 220-0640 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.