Thursday, July 12, 2007

Today in tragedies

This is actually quite tragic, sad, and recent. Tragic that people were hurt. Tragic that people died. Tragic that natural gas is so dangerous. Tragic that this may have been avoidable, very, very avoidable. While my initial instinct is to do more light mockery, I'll just quote the story and let the public decide:
CLEBURNE — A man whose wife died after their home exploded had been told not to light any more cigarettes nearly an hour before the blast, according to a city fire marshal's report.

After calling the Cleburne Fire Department's nonemergency number on May 29, David Pawlick told the fire inspector that "every time my wife lights a cigarette, a blue flame shoots up to the ceiling." Fire inspector Scott Oesch said he would check the problem and told Pawlick not to light any more matches, according to a memo written by Oesch two days later.

Oesch did not tell the family to leave the home — where authorities later discovered natural gas had seeped in but went undetected.

Before the inspector arrived, Pawlick's wife, Hazel, said she wanted to smoke. So Pawlick lit a match for his wife's cigarette, but it went out after a blue flash. He lit another match, sparking an explosion of blue flames in the house, Fire Marshal Bill Wright reported.

Seconds later, flames went through the ceiling into the attic. Another more violent explosion then ripped a hole in the roof.

Five of the family members were injured. Hazel Pawlick, 64, died days later from her injuries.

Hazel Sanderson, the Pawlick's daughter, and her daughter, Stephanie Sanderson, remain in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, the family's attorney said.

Pawlick is suing Atmos Energy and seeking unspecified damages. Family attorney Dean Jackson declined to comment on the inspector's claim about Pawlick being told not to light any more cigarettes.

The Pawlicks' house did not use natural gas. But fire investigators say a nearby natural gas leak traveled into a sewer line leading into the house.

A condensation line from an air-conditioning unit dropped into the sewer pipe. The result was aunit that worked as a pump, sucking natural gas from the sewer line and distributing it through the air-conditioning ducts, Wright wrote.

1 comment:

mikey said...

Dude, that's horrible. I, too, shall refrain from mockery, and say that the worst part is that it was totally preventable (the explosion, not the gas leak itself).