Fires and explosions unfortunately make news across the country daily. Set a Google alert for the term “natural gas explosion” or “apartment fire,” and updates will inundate your inbox.
Here are just a couple of recent incidents making headlines:
9 injured in Denver gas explosion
From Associated Press, August 14: Nine people were injured, one critically, by a natural gas explosion in Denver, firefighters said.
Capt. Greg Pixley, a spokesman for the Denver Fire Department, said seven bystanders were treated for minor injuries and released after a portion of a brick rowhouse was leveled in the blast just south of downtown. A man was critically injured, and a woman who was pulled from the debris is in stable condition.
Pixley said some of the injured were burned, and the fire department is working with Xcel Energy to determine what happened.
Pieces of wood were thrown like sticks, and bricks were spilled on the ground in front of the one-story building, which was being searched by a cadaver dog.
“Our goal is not to find a victim but to rule out that a victim is there,” Pixley said.
Alexander Ponton, whose car was hit by the blast, said he and a few other people helped pull a couple from the debris. “As I got in front of that building, it blew up right next to my car,” Ponton said. “Threw my car over a foot and a half to 2 feet. … After it blew up, all you could smell was gas. That’s all you could smell.”
Alex McMahill, who was working at a nearby auto repair shop, said he heard the explosion and thought a vehicle had fallen from its lift. “I just started running,” said McMahill, who also helped pull people from the debris.
“I’m thankful for my friends, my family, and I hope that everybody could be safe because it’s a crazy life,” he said.
From Denver7 TV, August 15: Fire investigators are analyzing physical evidence collected from the scene of this week’s natural gas explosion at a Denver apartment complex to try and determine what caused the blast that injured nine people.
In addition to that physical evidence, Pixley told Denver7 that investigators are looking at surveillance video, cellphone video from bystanders and other witness accounts as the investigation continues.
Pixley said that video from a surveillance camera across the street from the complex that exploded is being analyzed.
The explosion damaged most of the seven-unit apartment complex, which partially collapses afterward.
Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joined the investigation, along with numerous other agencies, a day after the explosion happened. A high-ranking Denver official told Contact7 Investigates an arson investigation was part of the full probe.
GoFundMe pages have been started for several people who were injured in the explosion. Investigators still haven’t determined its cause.
Ruptured gas line causes coffee shop blast in South Georgia, injuring 3
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 18: An explosion destroyed a coffee shop and seriously injured three people in Homerville, Georgia, authorities confirmed. Homerville is located in Clinch County, about 30 miles north of the Florida border.
Investigators determined a nearby construction crew installing fiber optic cable ruptured an underground gas line, causing natural gas to leak into a sewer line connected to the coffee shop, Glenn Allen, a spokesman for Georgia Insurance and safety fire commissioner Ralph Hudgens, told the Associated Press.
“Inside the shop, gas built up in the kitchen area, and there was a spark, resulting in the explosion,” Allen said.
Two employees at Coffee Corner and a customer were the only people inside the building when it exploded, and they were flown to a hospital in Gainesville, Florida, the AP reported. They suffered “burns and other serious injuries,” Allen said.