Gas explosion

Gas explosion

A Gas explosion is the result of a gas leak in the presence of an ignition source. The principal explosive gases are natural gas, methane, propane and butane, because they are widely used for heating purposes. However, many other gases like hydrogen, are combustible and have caused explosions in the past. Industrial gas explosions can be prevented with the use of intrinsic safety barriers to prevent ignition.

Historic gas explosions

* The New London School explosion occurred on March 18, 1937, when a natural gas leak caused an explosion, destroying the New London School of the city of New London, Texas. The disaster killed three hundred students and teachers.

* The Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion occurred on the afternoon of Friday, October 20, 1944. The resulting gas leak, explosion and fires killed 130 people and destroyed a one square mile area on Cleveland, Ohio’s east side.

* Ronan Point was a 23-storey council tower block in Newham, East London. On 16 May 1968 a gas explosion caused the collapse of a whole corner of the building. Four people were killed in the collapse, with one dying later of injuries.

* In July 1988, 167 people died when Occidental Petroleum's Alpha offshore production platform, on the Piper field in the North Sea, exploded after a gas leak.

* The 1992 explosion in Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, took place on April 22, 1992 in the downtown district of Analco. Numerous gasoline explosions in the sewer system over four hours destroyed kilometers of streets. Officially, 206 people were killed, nearly 500 injured and 15,000 were left homeless.

* The Humberto Vidal Explosion (sometimes also referred to as the Río Piedras Explosion) was a gas explosion that occurred on November 21, 1996 on the Humberto Vidal shoe store located in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, United States. The explosion killed 33 and wounded 69 others when the building collapsed. It is considered one of the deadliest disasters to have occurred on the island.

* On December 11, 1998, there was a gas explosion in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

* On January 17, 2001, natural gas stored underground in Hutchinson, Kansas leaked into empty brine caverns. Two explosions resulted from the leak. One destroyed 2 businesses and damaged 26 others. Another destroyed a trailer park killing two people. Sinkholes and gas leaks formed all around the city and the gas had to be slowly burned off.

* On May 11, 2004, the Stockline Plastics Factory in the Maryhill area of Glasgow was destroyed by a gas explosion. The cause was found by a Health and Safety Executive report to be the ignition of gas from a ruptured pipe, although a public enquiry is ongoing as of July 2008. Nine people were killed and 37 were injured, 15 seriously.

* On July 25, 2007, a series of explosions destroyed a Southwest Industrial Gases, Inc facility in downtown Dallas, Texas. Numerous canisters of acetylene and propane gas in the facility ingnited and were projected from the facility by the explosions. This resulted in the closing of nearby highways Interstate 30 and Interstate 35, an evacuation of the area, and two serious injuries. Fortunately, no casualties due to the incident have been reported.

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