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National Fuel Gas Company, natural gas explosion and fire, Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1985

Author: National Transportation Safety Board. Bureau of Accident Investigation.
Publisher: Washington, DC : The Board, October 25, 1985.
Series: Pipeline accident report.
Edition/Format:   Book : National government publication : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
At 2:40 a.m., on February 2, 1985, a police patrolman on routine patrol smelled strong natural gas odors as he crossed railroad tracks while heading south on North Sixth Street in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. He radioed this information to the Sharpsville Police Department dispatcher at 2:42 a.m.; the dispatcher relayed the information to the gas company by telephone at 2:43 a.m., and a gas serviceman was ordered to
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Title: National Fuel Gas Company, natural gas explosion and fire, Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1985
Database Name: WorldCat
All Authors / Contributors: National Transportation Safety Board. Bureau of Accident Investigation.
Notes: Misc. No.: NTSB/PAR-85/02
Accession No.: 70743
NTIS: PB85-916502
Description: 30 p.
Year: October 25, 1985.
Publisher: Washington, DC : The Board,
Corporate Author: National Transportation Safety Board. Bureau of Accident Investigation.
Series: Pipeline accident report; Variation: Pipeline accident report.
OCLC No.: 690760128

Abstract:

At 2:40 a.m., on February 2, 1985, a police patrolman on routine patrol smelled strong natural gas odors as he crossed railroad tracks while heading south on North Sixth Street in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. He radioed this information to the Sharpsville Police Department dispatcher at 2:42 a.m.; the dispatcher relayed the information to the gas company by telephone at 2:43 a.m., and a gas serviceman was ordered to the scene. At 3:15 a.m., before the serviceman arrived at the site of the reported leak, a tavern and a connecting building exploded and burned, killing two persons. Firefighters arriving onscene moments later encountered a second, smaller explosion which injured one firefighter. Gas company personnel shut off the gas to the leak site at 4:15 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the gas company's failure to understand the limitations of the restraining-type coupling in holding plastic pipe during thermal contraction, which led to the pullout allowed natural gas under 50-psig pressure to escape, to migrate through the soil, to accumulate in two nearby buildings, and to ignite from an undetermined source. Contributing to the accident was the gas company dispatcher's slowness, due to lack of training and guidelines, in perceiving the severity of the gas leak and in requesting the local police, already on site, to evacuate and to ventilate nearby buildings.
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