Explosions kill, main and scar every day. An explosion reaps devastation. Nearby victims may suffer serious, catastrophic injuries, including burn injuries. Explosions can happen on the jobsite, at home, in your car, or anywhere. Construction site and factory workers face more of a risk of suffering explosion injuries because they are often required to use hazardous, flammable materials.
Natural gas and propane (liquefied petroleum gas) are widely used for cooking and heating, and are a common cause of explosions. Many home appliances use gas. If the appliances malfunction, an explosive level of gas can accumulate in your home. Some of the common appliances are: stoves, ranges, ovens, cooking tops, water heaters, heating and cooling systems, dryers and fireplace logs.
Both natural gas and propane gas are odorless, so gas companies are required to add an odorant (usually butyl mercaptan) to gas as a “warning”. The smell is described often as that of “rotting cabbage” or “rotten eggs” or “skunk”. When a gas leak occurs, however, this smell does not always provide an adequate warning. Some noses are insensitive to smell, as when people have a cold, and the smell won’t generally wake a sleeping person. Some people don’t understand that the smell is a warning. Also, sometimes the manufacturer of the gas failed to add sufficient odorant, or the odorant was not properly mixed with the gas, or the gas was allowed to sit in the tank too long, causing the odorant to descend to the bottom of the tank.
If you do smell gas, you should immediately leave the building or home you are in, and warn others to, too, and call 911 or your utility provider immediately. You should NOT call from the building, or turn any lights on – a spark from the phone or light switch might ignite the gas.
Propane is more dangerous than natural gas, for one thing because it is heavier than air, and tends to accumulate in low areas of the building where it might not reach your nose.
When a gas explosion occurs, there are several parties who may end up being legally liable for the resulting injuries and death: the local gas supply company, the “upstream” suppliers of the gas (those who sold the gas to the local supplier), the appliance manufacturer or seller or distributer, the party who installed the gas system or repaired or maintained the appliance, or the owner or landlord of the home or apartment. Investigating a gas explosion case requires experience and help from a gas explosion expert.
The Auburn, New York explosion accident attorneys of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for victims of explosions and for other injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of an explosion, CONTACT US for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.