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Accident Report Detail

​Pipeline Accident Brief: Birmingham Public Housing Gas Explosion

Executive Summary

​At 2:29 a.m. on December 17, 2013, one side (unit 80) of a two-story duplex at a public housing project in Birmingham, Alabama, exploded when natural gas in the apartment ignited. The explosion and fire destroyed unit 80 and heavily damaged the adjoining apartment (unit 79). The explosion also damaged several adjacent homes at the Charles P. Marks Village, operated by the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the release of natural gas through a large crack in the 62-year-old, cast iron gas main that resulted when tree growth cracked the corroded pipe. Once the accumulating gas reached the explosive limit inside the apartment, an active pilot light on an appliance ignited the gas. Contributing to the accident was the absence of the odorant, which was absorbed by the soil and prevented residents from smelling the gas.

For more details about this accident, visit search for NTSB accident ID DCA14MP001.

Accident Location: Birmingham , AL USA  
Accident Date: 12/17/2013
Accident ID: DCA14MP001

Date Adopted: 3/30/2016
NTSB Number: PAB1601
NTIS Number:  

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