An extensive network of pipelines travels beneath congested American neighborhoods, residential communities and commercial areas with heavy populations across the country. When an explosion occurs in any section of a pipeline, the results can include catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Much of the pipeline network in the United States was laid decades ago, and some pipelines are believed to be more than a century old. Back when these pipelines were laid, they were installed underneath flat, vacant lands that were sparsely populated.
However, several decades later, the demographics above ground have undergone a sea change. Many of these areas are now heavily populated, and residential and commercial communities thrive in these regions. This means that when a pipeline explosion occurs in these areas, the potential for human loss is immense.
One of the most frequent causes of pipeline explosions is, not surprisingly, deteriorating infrastructure. Worn out valves and weak seams along sections of a pipeline can cause a gas leak, which can ignite in no time at all.
Even the safety systems that were installed decades earlier may be inaccessible, or malfunctioning. An example is the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California. After this explosion, emergency personnel who responded to the scene found it hard to turn off the safety valve, which would have blocked more gas from feeding the flames.
Pipeline companies are required to inspect pipelines frequently for signs of wear and tear and damage, and to fix the damage found. Unfortunately, many pipeline companies don’t bother to invest in such regular maintenance and repair programs, and the result is very often leaks and explosions that can have catastrophic consequences. Inadequate repairs can result in a leak that can end in a massive explosion. The population in these neighborhoods may be severely at risk.
The California pipeline explosion lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP represent victims who have been injured in gas pipeline explosions in the Walnut Creek area, and across California.