Pipeline Accident Report

San Juan Gas Company, Inc./Enron Corp. Propane Gas Explosion

San Juan, Puerto Rico
November 21, 1996

NTSB Number: PAR-97/01
NTIS Number: PB97-916501
Adopted: December 23, 1997

Executive Summary

About 8:30 a.m. on November 21, 1996, because of a propane gas leak, a commercial building in San Juan, Puerto Rico, exploded. Thirty-three people were killed, and at least 69 were injured. The safety issues discussed in this report are the adequacy of employee training, the need for an excavation-damage prevention program, the adequacy of maps and records of buried facilities, the adequacy of public education on what to do when the odor of gas is detected, and the adequacy of the oversight of the San Juan Gas Company, Inc., from Enron Corp., the Puerto Rico Public Service Commission, and the Office of Pipeline Safety. As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Research and Special Services Administration, the Puerto Rico Public Service Commission, Enron Corp., and Heath Consultants, Inc.

For additional information regarding this accident, see NTSB special investigation report Brittle-Like Cracking in Plastic Pipe for Gas Service, NTSB/SIR-98/01 in the pipeline studies section.