Natural Gas Leak Leaves Worker With Serious Burn Injuries

While working to repair a gas leak in an aging natural gas pipeline in East Toledo, Ohio, a gas worker received serious burns on his face when the leak exploded. The worker was in a four-foot-deep hole when he was injured by the gas fire ball. He was part of a crew from Columbia Gas of Ohio tasked with repairing the gas leak, a job that a Columbia Gas official noted as, “risky business [even] under the best of circumstances.”

Columbia gas officials also categorized the flames as a “flare up” rather than an “explosion.” Nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution against wider-spread injuries from the fire ball and natural gas pipeline leak. The gas workers injuries were classed as serious but not life-threatening.

The gas company reportedly had the leak capped about an hour and a half after the injury-causing flare up occurred. The source of the fire ball will be fully investigated once the water used to douse the flame is drained from the pit.

About one week ago, another Columbia Gas line leak caused an explosion that completely destroyed a North Toledo home. No one was occupying the residence at the time, but at least one neighbor reported feeling the windows rattle and the house shake from the natural gas explosion.

Columbia Gas is in the midst of a 20-year project to replace aging pipelines throughout Ohio. The gas company has committed to making $200 million throughout the state with at least $18 million dedicated to replacing 32 miles of natural gas pipelines in 12 Toledo neighborhoods. The Toledo replacement project was supposed to have been started in 2011.

Source: Northwest Ohio, “One man injured after gas leak causes fire in East Toledo,” May 3, 2013