National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
The National Transportation Safety Board today released the following update on its investigation of the August 21, 2004 gas explosion in a house in DuBois, Pennsylvania, which resulted in the deaths of two residents of the home.
A gas explosion and subsequent fire occurred in a home at 48 Woodland Lane, DuBois, Pennsylvania at about 8:50 a.m. on Saturday, August 21, 2004. Two residents of the home died as a result of the accident. The explosion was reported to 911 and both the Sandy Township Fire Department and National Fuel Gas Company responded.
National Fuel Gas Company tested for the presence of natural gas in the soil in the vicinity of the explosion. Natural gas readings were found to be as high as 100% at two locations; one was near the meter at the home and the other near a 2-inch diameter plastic gas main in front of the home. National Fuel Gas Company personnel closed valves on the gas main about 11:20 a.m., which shut off the flow of gas to the neighborhood. The gas system was operated at about 50 psig.
The 2-inch plastic gas main was excavated and a crack was found in a fusion joint in the pipe. Dry soil, indicative of a natural gas leak, was found around the fusion joint. A section of the 2-inch plastic gas main was installed in 1994. The gas main was extended in January 1996; this is when the fusion joint was installed. The home's gas service line was pressure tested after the accident and no leaks were found.
Odorant tests conducted at three locations indicated that the gas in the pipeline distribution system met Federal safety regulations for odorization.
Several sections of the 2-inch gas main were transported to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC for further examination. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal, and National Fuel Gas Company are parties to the NTSB investigation.
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.