With some regularity, we see and hear media reports about the state of the infrastructure system in the United States. Roads and bridges are in dangerous condition, in need of repair or replacement. The stark reality is that natural gas pipelines across the United States are in desperate need of upgrade or reconfiguration. Every year, aged or improperly installed pipelines result in gas explosion accidents that cause major property damage as well as serious and even fatal injuries.
The major problem associated with aged and improperly installed natural utility conduits is sharply illustrated by a gas pipeline catastrophe that resulted in an explosion accident in Maryland. Towards the latter part of 2019, a major natural gas explosion occurred at an office park and shopping center in Columbia, Maryland.
Natural gas and electrical service was provided to the Columbia office park and shopping center by Baltimore Gas & Electric, or BGE. The office park and retail center was home to a number of different types of businesses and offices. These included an Indian grocery store, an Indian restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a pizzeria, a coffee shop, a nail salon, and a Social Security Administration Office. The office and retail complex largely was destroyed as a result of a natural gas explosion.
The natural gas explosion occurred just before 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Activity at the Columbia office park and shopping center was largely inactive with workers and the general public because off the time and day of the week. However, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the area is quite active during the week and even on the weekend. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported in the direct aftermath of the blast.
The report of no serious injuries certainly is the exception and not the rule when it comes to gas pipeline explosions. The grim reality is that these types of catastrophic incidents typically result in death and severe injuries. During 2019, the last year when a full set of statistics is available, 715 explosion accidents or incidents occurred across the United States.
The nature and extent of the Columbia natural gas pipeline explosion prompted an intense investigation by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The in-depth investigation was undertaken by officials from the Public Service Commission’s engineering division. The intense investigation resulted in a finding that BGE had not properly installed natural gas pipelines serving the area of the Maryland explosion. Rather, the energy utility failed to separate properly underground gas pipelines and electrical service conduits.
Investigators from the Maryland Public Service Commission determined that the issue with improperly installed natural gas pipelines was not confined to the Columbia office park and shopping center. As of the beginning of 2021, Commission investigators identified 1,253 buildings serviced by BGE with the same type of improper and dangerous gas pipeline placement. The belief of industry observers is that this type of hazardous placement of gas pipelines in too close of proximity to electrical conduits is a ubiquitous problem across the United States, jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of Americans virtually everywhere.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an explosion accident, including one involving a gas pipeline rupture, defect, or improper placement, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm his here for you. We’ve established an explosion accident hotline for you at (800) 349-0000. We keep this gas pipeline injury telephone line staffed around the clock, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, including all major holidays.
A nationwide law firm, we can arrange an initial consultation with an experienced explosion accident lawyer at any one of our 40 offices. We can also schedule a case evaluation for you at your home or any other location convenient for you. We can arrange a virtual appointment for you online as well. There is never a charge and there is no obligation for an initial consultation with a member of our committed, skilled legal team.
The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee guarantee to you. We never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you. The explosion accident attorneys at our firm are committed to fighting hard to win big for you.