Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Cause of May explosion in Pennsylvania neighborhood unknown

Allegheny County residents may think of accidents as unintentional events, but many accidents do not happen by chance. Evidence from the scene of an explosion or fire may show a tragedy did not have to happen at all. An individual or company can be liable for acting improperly or failing to act to prevent injuries or deaths.

Residents in the heart of Philadelphia were ordered to leave their homes in the middle of the night. Fire crews rushed to move neighbors to safety after detecting a disturbing concentration of carbon monoxide in the area. Authorities were contacted by a local resident whose CO detector was set off after he opened a window.

A woman living in a condominium complex suffered poisoning symptoms from the odorless gas and was hospitalized. Firefighters discovered carbon monoxide levels above 2,000 parts per million, the highest possible reading on equipment used to measure gas levels. Carbon monoxide becomes toxic at levels over 35 parts per million and extremely CO high concentrations are an explosion waiting to happen.

Gas company workers arrived and entered one of the evacuated homes to check levels of carbon monoxide and natural gas. Minutes later, an explosion triggered a fire that destroyed two residences and badly damaged nearby condominiums. Two firefighters near one of the homes were injured.

Readings taken by gas utility workers indicated natural gas levels before the explosion were too low to be dangerous. An electric utility confirmed there was a fire in an underground cable, possibly caused by a night of heavy rain. Burning cable can release carbon monoxide, but the utility company believes CO levels from the fire weren't high enough to spark a blast.

Plaintiffs must supply evidence of negligence in fire and explosion liability lawsuits. The success of an injury or death claim can depend on how quickly an attorney is contacted to collect and preserve supporting proof.

Source: The Inquirer, "What made Naudain Street explode, and who's responsible?" Andrew Maykuth, Jun. 22, 2014

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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