Scotsman Hosie (03-27-2020)
House destroyed by gas line explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
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When I was a kid, maybe 6-7, we moved into the first house that was completed in a new subdivision. With no other kids to around play with, I spent my days watching the workers building the neighborhood. I remember one day a crew was doing something to a gas line. Not sure what since I was just a kid then. But I clearly remember them welding the steel pipe as it hung from the boom on the side of a dozer. I was amazed how flexible the steel pipe was.
Looking back, they welded the pipe, slapped some paint on it, and dropped it in the ground. That was 60+ years ago, I am glad I do not live in the area these days. It is a bit disconcerting to think about what is under ground in a lot of areas. We hear evidence of the degradation of our infrastructure all the time. Bridges collapsing, gas lines exploding, water lines rupture and flood entire neighborhoods, sewer lines break and erode the ground under our roads, the list goes on.....
This also happened in our town in the late 1970’s. A crew was digging in the street and evidently nicked a gas line. Over several days, the gas followed the line to a house, flowing through the pea gravel. It accumulated in the basement of the house. Since it flowed through the gravel, the mercaptan was stripped off, so no one noticed the leak. When it ignited, that house and one on either side were destroyed. Killed several people and injured others. I’m pretty sure this was before the ‘call before you dig’ practice was instituted...
The "call before you dig" is another law that sounds good on paper, but SO MANY times, the locations are wrong. Over the years I have hit both electric and gas lines while excavating. It is the law, so I always call before I start a project. Last week I called, they came and located all of the utilities, they have the water main located 30 feet away from the actual location. It all luck of the draw, does someone who knows what they are doing come out, or is it just some guy collecting a pay check.
Our gas company (Pacific Graft & Extortion) came out once on a "call before you dig" when the town had to work on the sewer line to our house. He started at the house and followed the line with his metal detector.
Diagonally to the middle of the yard, then turn left under the driveway over in front of The Tar Pit, then turn right out to the street where it circled around, eventually stopping at the gas main around 150 feet West of where it would have been had it gone straight out to the main.
Once he marked everything he said he had to go inspect a gas line that was scheduled for an inspection 40 years ago but they were just now getting around to it.
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