On March 4, 2014 natural gas fueled explosion rocked a condominium complex in Ewing, New Jersey. Initial investigation reports the explosion may have been caused by utility workers at the accident scene. At least two condominium units have been destroyed, one person died and several people were injured suffering serious burns. Many more families have been displaced from their residences.
Tragic events like this are not unprecedented. On March 23, 1994 an explosion occurred at Durham woods in Edison, NJ that caused injury, loss of life and major property damage. The cause and origin of the Durham woods explosion was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board who found that, “Sometime between 1986 and the rupture, the pipeline was gouged by excavation equipment. This created a two-inch-long dent that reduced the wall thickness of the pipe from 0.675 to 0.5 inches. Over time, metal fatigue probably caused a crack in the gouge, which in all likelihood grew to critical size, ending in the brittle catastrophic failure that released approximately 297 million standard cubic feet of natural gas over a 21U2-hour period.” The aftermath of the explosion involved years of litigation in Middlesex County resulting in a significant settlement to the injured parties and property owners.
During December of 2005, a gas line explosion occurred on the premises of a Washington Avenue apartment complex in Bergenfield, NJ that killed several residents. Cause and origin experts rendered opinions that explosion occurred because of the negligence of construction crews working.
On June 54, 2007 a roadway explosion in Oradell, NJ caused a car being driven by a young man to be propelled into the air landing on its roof injuring the driver. Fortunately, that explosion occurred during while pressure testing of the lines with air instead of natural gas. A subsequent lawsuit determined that PSEG and its subcontractors contributed to the cause of the explosion. Injuries like these are often preventable. Proper safety protocols are not meant to be suggestions, they are meant to be closely followed to avoid loss of life, limb or property.