Firefighters respond to about 100,000 natural gas explosions each year, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association. When natural gas ignites, it causes catastrophic explosions with significant property damage, serious injuries, and death.
If your family was impacted by a gas explosion, you should talk to an experienced burn injury lawyer as soon as possible because…
- Laws called “statutes of limitations,” which vary from state to state may significantly reduce the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
- It is important to start an investigation right away since explosions scenes are exposed to weather conditions and may not be secured from trespassers.
Our burn injury lawyers have been representing families in gas explosion lawsuits for the past 40 years. Pritzker Hageman is one of the few law firms in the country with experience representing burn survivors and their families. Our legal team has gone up against Fortune 500 gas companies to win hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients.
Explosion Lawsuit Investigations Reveal Common Causes of Gas Explosions
When you hire our legal team, we immediately begin an independent investigation to determine the cause and origin of the blast. Explosion lawsuits are complex. At Pritzker Hageman, we have the resources to work with highly experienced cause and origin specialists to determine what factors caused the explosion.
“It’s crucial to do an independent investigation in any case involving severe burn injuries or wrongful death. In doing so, we have found liability for things such as failure to comply with safety regulations, product defects, and failure to protect against a phenomenon known as odor fade.”Burn injury attorney Eric Hageman
Through lawsuit investigations, our burn injury lawyers have determined that the most common causes of gas explosions include the following.
1. Propane tank leaks
Because propane is invisible and odorless, a chemical odorant called ethyl mercaptan is added to it, which gives propane its signature rotten egg smell that allows people to detect gas leaks. A phenomenon called odor fade occurs when something happens to reduce or eliminate the smell of gas. If you were not able to smell gas before an explosion, you may be able to sue the company responsible for causing odor fade. For example, Pritzker Hageman represented a burn injury client who did not smell gas before a house explosion. Our investigation found that a propane tank was not filled properly by a gas company, which led to odor fade and ultimately caused the explosion that injured our client.
2. Gas line leaks and explosions
Gas line leaks and explosions are a serious and ongoing problem in the U.S. A recent investigation by our legal team found that gas companies have made little progress to implement safety measures that would protect people from deadly gas line explosions. Our burn injury lawyers have appeared on CBS News to call for more transparency and faster reporting from gas companies. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association (PHMSA) shows that pipe corrosion causes 15-20% of all pipeline explosions. In a recent case, our law firm represented a man who was severely burned in a house explosion caused by corroded pipes.
3. Defective gas appliances
More than 177 million people rely on gas appliances in their homes to cook, provide heat, and dry clothes. When an appliance is defective, poorly serviced, or improperly installed, it can lead to a gas leak, which can cause a serious house explosion. Household appliances that can cause gas explosions include the following.
- Air conditioners
- Outdoor grills
- Water heaters
In The News: Recent Gas Explosions
House Explosion in Garfield Heights, OH Kills Three
June 12, 2022-
Gerald Bateman, Cassandra Bateman, and Donald Malinowski died in a house explosion in Garfield Heights, OH. The cause of the house explosion is under investigation but investigators say gas has not been ruled out. The State Fire Marshal says the investigation will focus on the appliances and gas lines inside the house.
When first responders arrived at the explosion scene, they found extensive damage to the house on the 4900 block of East 81st Street. Doorbell camera footage from a neighbor showed that a series of smaller explosions followed the initial blast. Dominion Energy, the State Fire Marshal, and Garfield Police and Fire sent investigators to the scene.
Possible Gas Leak Explosion at Texas Church Injures Woman
A possible gas leak explosion at the Queen of Holy Rosary Catholic Church injured a woman in Fayette County. The woman was taken to Dell-Seton Hospital in Austin with burn injuries. Investigators say the explosion was likely caused by a gas leak.
Boat Explosion Along Illinois River Injures 14
May 28, 2022 – A boat explosion at the Spring Brook Marina along the Illinois River injured 14 people. One person is in critical condition. Authorities say the explosion happened during refueling. Thirteen people were taken to local hospitals and one person was airlifted to a hospital in Chicago. A marina employee was also injured in the boat explosion.
Pottstown House Explosion Kills 5, Injures 2
May 26, 2022 – A house explosion in Pottstown, PA killed five people and sent two others to the hospital with severe injuries. Officials say there are two other people who are unaccounted for. First responders arrived at the house on Washington Street and Butler Avenue after receiving reports of an explosion. Several homes in the area were damaged. A neighbor told NBC10 Philadelphia, “I heard a huge explosion…I thought a bomb went off.” The cause of the Pottstown house explosion is under investigation. Montgomery County authorities told local news that it was likely a gas explosion.
Woman Injured in La Grange Kitchen Fire Likely Caused by Broken Gas Line
May 25, 2022 – A woman was injured in a kitchen fire at her home in west suburban La Grange. When police arrived at the house on the 300 block of South Catherine Drive, they found a 90-year-old woman trapped on the second floor. The Fire Chief says a broken gas line likely caused the house fire.
Space Heater Likely Caused Trailer Home Fire That Killed Couple and Grandson Near Lake Mille Lacs
May 22, 2022 – A couple and their 6-year-old grandson died in a trailer home fire near Lake Mille Lacs. The Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office says a space heater likely caused the trailer home fire on 28th Avenue in Wealthwood Township. Sadly. Jeff Cleys (69), Michelle Cleys (55), Grant Diehl (6), and two dogs died in the trailer home fire.
Gas Explosion at Indianapolis House Injures Man
May 22, 2022 – A man was burned in a house explosion caused by an appliance gas leak in Indianapolis. First responders arrived at the scene on the 3600 block of Dearborn Street to find severe structural damage. A man inside the house was taken to the hospital with burn injuries to his hands. Police say the house explosion was caused when gas leaked from an appliance.
Woman Burned in Propane Explosion at Dennis Cottage
May 21, 2022 – A woman was severely burned in a propane explosion at her cottage in Dennis, MA. The explosion happened when propane gas ignited after she turned on her kitchen stove. Crews arrived to find considerable damage to the house on Mayfair Road. The woman was taken to Cape Cod Hospital with serious burn injuries.
Propane Tank Leak Causes Shipping Container Explosion in Millersville, MD
May 5, 2022 – Two men suffered critical burn injuries in a shipping container explosion at a business in Anne Arundel County. The explosion happened in the 1500-block of Jabez Run in Millersville. Authorities say one man was burned after opening the container and the other was burned while trying to rescue him. According to investigators, the explosion happened when a piece of heavy equipment ignited from a propane gas leak inside the container. The first burn victim remains in the hospital with life-threatening burn injuries.
Explosion Likely Caused by Dryer Injures One in Newburgh, NY
April 30, 2022 – An explosion likely caused by a dryer left one person with burn injuries. The explosion happened at a house on 260 Gardnertown Road in the Cronomer Valley section of Newburgh. One person was transported to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Investigators are inspecting the structural damage to the house.
Propane Explosion at Virginia Duplex Kills Man, Injures Woman
April 15, 2022 – A propane explosion at a duplex in Franklin, Va. sent two people to the hospital with critical burn injuries. Sadly, one person, identified as Michael Wiggins, died at a Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. A neighbor told WTKR News that Wiggins “kept telling the people he smelled propane, and he said they never did nothing about it.”
First responders arrived at Berkley Court Apartments on the 600 block of Cameron Street shortly before 11 a.m. Neighbors reported hearing a loud explosion that shook their homes. The propane explosion that killed Wiggins also injured a woman who lived in a separate home. The woman was airlifted to a Richmond hospital where she is in critical condition.
A preliminary investigation determined that a propane explosion occurred at the duplex. As of Friday, April 29, residents in the Berkley Court community are still without gas and hot water. The property management company, Severn Companies, is waiting for a third-party inspection before using the gas lines again.
House Fire Likely Caused by Gas Leak in Monteville, ME
April 14, 2022 – One person died and two are in critical condition after a house fire in Waldo County. The house fire broke out at 50 Darci Lane in Monteville. Investigators say the Monteville house fire was likely caused by a gas leak involving a gas stove.
Apartment Explosion Caused by Propane Gas Leak in Seymour, CT
March 29, 2022 – An apartment explosion in Seymour, CT injured three people, sending two burn survivors to Bridgeport Hospital. A third person sustained minor burn injuries but declined treatment. Fire crews responded to reports of an explosion at the building near Maple and Pearl Streets around 2 p.m. Investigators stopped a propane gas leak after the explosion broke out in a basement apartment. The blast caused significant damage to the building.
5 in Critical Condition After Possible Gas Explosion at Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring, MD
March 3, 2022 – At least five people were critically injured after a fire and explosion at Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring. Fire crews arrived at the scene at 2423 Lyttonsville Road shortly before 11 a.m. After finding heavy fire on the first and second floors of the garden-style apartment building, crews called a second alarm for more help. A resident told WUSA9 News that he was sleeping on the third floor when he awoke to flames in his apartment. Around 10-12 people were sent to the hospital for treatment, and five people are in critical condition.
Sadly, this is not the first time a fire and explosion destroyed a garden-style apartment in Silver Springs. In January, a massive fire broke out at Flower Branch Apartments, leaving several dozen people without homes.
Minnesota Woman Dies in Gas Line Explosion While House Sitting in Le Sueur County
February 25, 2022 – Twenty-year-old Kailey Mach died in a gas line explosion while she was house sitting in rural Lexington Township a few miles northeast of Le Center.
An investigation in April 2022 revealed that a gas line leak caused the house explosion. The Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office says that a leak in the gas line outside the home caused gas to leak into the basement foundation, which built up enough to ignite.
When fire crews arrived at the scene, they found smoke rising from a gaping hole in the ground, which was all that was left of the house on 211th Avenue. At the time of the explosion, Mach was housesitting and caring for the dogs while homeowner Aric Holicky and his family were out of town.
Mach was studying elementary education at Augsburg College. Her friend told ABC6 News that “she always talked about how she was going to change the world by teaching the next generation.”
House Explosion in Royal Center, IN Critically Injures Man
January 23, 2022 – A house explosion in Royal Center critically injured a 51-year-old man. Jody Thompson was asleep in his bed when his house exploded shortly before 2 a.m. A neighbor went to check on the house on the 400-block of North Chicago Street after feeling and hearing an explosion. After hearing Thompson call for help outside, the neighbor rescued him and kept him warm in his vehicle until medics arrived. Thompson is in critical condition at a trauma center in Indianapolis. The house explosion is under investigation. This is the second house explosion to occur in Cass County in the last few months.
Gas Explosion at Bronx, NY Home Kills Woman and Injures Nine Others
January 18, 2022 – A gas explosion at a detached home in the Bronx killed a 77-year-old woman and injured nine other people, including two elderly women. More than 100 firefighters and EMS responded to the three-story residential building on Fox Street near Intervale Avenue in Longwood. A 77-year-old woman died at Lincoln Hospital. An 82-year-old woman and a 68-year-old woman were critically injured. Con Edison shut-off gas to the area. NYPD investigators are working with the fire marshal to investigate the official cause of the explosion.
Propane Explosion at Ice Fishing House on Upper Red Lake Injures 4 in Northern Minnesota
January 1, 2022 – A propane explosion at an ice fishing house on Upper Red Lake left four people with burn injuries. The ice fishing house was located more than two miles from shore on the Northeast side of Upper Red Lake in Waskish Township. Two men and two women were using a propane heater when they heard a hissing noise. After they turned off the valve, the propane tank exploded. The four burn survivors were transported to a regional hospital. The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office says their conditions are unknown at this time.
Man Severely Burned After Garage Explosion at House in Minneapolis, MN
January 1, 2022 – A garage explosion and fire at a house in Minneapolis left a man with severe burn injuries. The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to a call for a garage explosion at a house on the 1000 block of 13th Avenue Southeast. A neighboring garage also caught fire. One man was found in the back of his pick-up truck. He was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and is in serious condition. The Assistant Fire Chief says that an explosion like this is “very rare.” Xcel Energy is investigating the incident.
Motorhome Explosion Severely Burns 3 Family Members in Utah
December 27, 2021 – A motorhome explosion in Utah left three family members with severe burn injuries. The Copeland family was traveling to Veyo when their converted Big Bird bus exploded. Kyle and Whitney Copeland used to live in Veyo with their four children before they sold their house to travel the country in a converted motorhome. Before the explosion, one of the Copeland children reported hearing “strange noises” coming from the propane heater. When the vehicle exploded, Kyle Copeland ran into the flames to save his 11-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. Kyle and the two children are in critical condition at a burn center in Las Vegas. Kyle’s father told KSL News Radio that his granddaughter sustained burns to 80% of her body. The rest of the children, their mother, and the family pet were uninjured. A family friend set up a Go Fund Me page to help support the family, who lost everything in the motorhome explosion.
House Explosion Likely Caused by Gas Leak Injures 2 Women in Vineland, NJ
December 15, 2021 – A house explosion likely caused by a gas leak that injured a woman and her mother in Vineland. The two women were inside the home on the 3700 block of Cornucopia Avenue when it exploded. A neighbor pulled one of the women from the rubble. He told local news that he heard her saying, “what happened…get me out, I’m stuck.” Fearing a second explosion after hearing a hissing propane tank in the rubble, the two made it safely across the street. Fire officials say a propane tank likely caused the explosion, although a gas line was also a source of gas for the house. The two women were transported to a local hospital. A family friend says the two women are actively involved in the community and volunteer for causes that support veterans and rescue dogs. Authorities are investigating the cause of the house explosion.
December 12, 2021 – A gas leak caused an Airbnb rental house to explode in Littleton, sending six people to the hospital. Officials classified the house explosion as a “mass casualty incident” because of the high number of injuries. After the explosion, a fire broke out in the basement of the house. Fire investigators confirmed there was a gas leak at the house, but an ignition source is still under investigation. Xcel Energy released a statement that says they are working with fire officials to determine the cause.
House Explosion in Polk County, GA
December 11, 2021 – An elderly woman died in a house explosion in rural Polk County. Fire investigators say a propane leak likely caused the house on 73 Winkle Road to explode. The blast was so powerful that it blew the house off its foundation. Sadly, Faye Harrison (83) died at the scene.
November 17, 2021 – A house explosion in Henderson County injured a father and son, who were transported to JMS Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Fire officials believe propane caused the explosion. A neighbor told local news that a gas company filled propane tanks the day before the explosion.
November 2, 2021 – A propane leak caused a house explosion that injured three family members in Charleston. The explosion on Kearse Drive was so strong that it blew out windows of neighboring homes.
October 28, 2021 – One person was injured after a gas line leak caused a house explosion in Rathdrum. The explosion happened when a Ziply Fiber contractor struck a gas line while working in the front yard, causing the house to fill with natural gas. When power was restored, the gas ignited and caused an explosion. Avista Utilities is working with the fire department to investigate.
October 25, 2021 – A house explosion in the Pin Point Community of Chatham County injured three people. Marcella “Marcie” Townsend, her 14-year-old son Christian, and her 4-month-old nephew were transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. Fire officials say a propane tank behind the house may have caused the explosion.
October 4, 2021 – Fire officials suspect that a natural gas leak caused a house explosion that killed one person in Allegany County. Dan Michael Church (71) sadly died in the blast at his home on County Route 18 in Alma.
September 28, 2021 – An apartment explosion in Dallas injured eight people. Three of the burn survivors are in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The explosion happened while firefighters were investigating a gas leak at Highland Hills Apartments. Although building residents reported the smell of gas for several days, Atmos Energy released a statement that investigators did not find any problems with its gas liens.
September 12, 2021 – An explosion at Arrive Perimeter Apartments in Dunwoody injured four people. Fire officials say a gas issue likely caused the explosion. At the time of the blast, workers from Atlanta Gas Light were already on their way after receiving reports of a gas smell.
September 6, 2021 – A house explosion in Akron injured an elderly man who was transported to the burn unit in Akron. Fire officials say gas likely caused the explosion. Dominion Gas Company is working with the fire department to investigate.
September 2, 2021 – A gas leak caused a house explosion that killed a man in Maynard. Fire crews responded to the scene of the house on Park Street after receiving reports of a gas smell.
November 30, 2021 – A propane explosion at a historic building in Laytonsville injured three people. Just hours before the explosion, occupants of the corporate headquarters of Ruppert Landscape reported a gas leak.
August 23, 2021 – A propane leak caused a house explosion that injured a woman and killed her husband in Northwest Township. The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the explosion that destroyed the home on County Road Q.
August 15, 2021 – A pipeline explosion injured a woman and killed her husband and daughter. Luis and Rosalina Alvarez lived in their farmhouse for 15 years before a Kinder Morgan pipeline exploded on their property. Pipeline safety experts say the pipeline was not originally designed to carry natural gas, which may explain why the explosion caused a 46-foot section of the pipe to eject into the air.
July 27, 2021 – A house explosion in Rome killed a former volunteer fire chief. Mike Revolinski was inside his home on Water Street when it exploded. Fire officials said in a press conference that they suspect a gas leak caused the explosion.
July 26, 2021 – A house explosion killed one person and injured five others in Tyrone. The explosion happened when PNG was already on the scene after receiving reports of a gas odor.
July 23, 2021 – A house explosion in West Bend injured two people. The 78-year-old homeowner and his son were airlifted to a local burn unit. Fire officials say natural gas likely caused the explosion.
July 20, 2021 – A gas leak caused a house explosion that killed a 92-year-old woman in Lackawanna. Irene Sanok was the only person inside the home at the time of the explosion.
July 19, 2021 – A house explosion in Plano injured six people, including three children. Firefighters say an isolated gas leak caused the house on Cleveland Drive to explode. Atmos Energy and Oncor Electric were on the scene to investigate.
July 12, 2021 – Investigators say a natural gas leak caused an apartment explosion that injured a woman in Lafayette. Aleksandra Balac was transported to an Indianapolis hospital with thermal burn injuries after the blast on Cadillac Court.
July 12, 2021 – A house explosion in Logan County injured two elderly people, who were taken to Cabell Huntington Burn Center. Fire officials say natural gas caused the explosion in the Davin area on Route 10.
July 10, 2021 – Propane gas caused a house explosion that injured a man and killed his wife in Fayette County. Investigators are working to determine the ignition source of the explosion on Good Hope-New Holland Road SE.
June 28, 2021 – A gas line explosion at an Atmos Energy facility in Texas killed two workers and injured three. At the time of the explosion, contractors with Bobcat Contracting and Fesco Petroleum Engineering were servicing a gas line.
June 24, 2021 – A gas explosion at a house in Camilla killed a woman. Belinda Ann Yaremko (60) was inside her home on Sassafras Tea Road when a gas explosion caused a fire to break out. Fire officials say the explosion was caused by liquified petroleum gas.
June 4, 2021 – Two people died in a house explosion in Berne. Investigators say propane likely caused the explosion on Hilltop Lane that killed Victor and Lois Porlier.