Gas company: Gilbert explosion occurred around unmarked gas lines - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gas company: Gilbert explosion occurred around unmarked gas lines

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:01 pm

A Gilbert neighborhood is still a mess after a natural gas leak forced people out of their houses on Sunday.

Southwest Gas was out all day Tuesday digging up Palomino Drive, and they believe they finally found the broken pipes.

They say two service pipes were leaking, so they’re digging those up and that will become part of this investigation.

Officials say the homes in this neighborhood don’t have gas service. They run on electric, but had feeder pipes running through the neighborhood.

Fire officials say several neighbors actually did smell the gas odor in the last few days, but didn’t act on it because they didn’t think it affected them.

Southwest Gas says if you want to know if you have a gas line on your property, call 811.

“Even if it's a really faint smell, it doesn't hurt to call 911 or Southwest Gas to come on out and take a look. This is a perfect example. These folks didn't think they had natural gas in their home, and sure enough they did,” says Southwest Gas official Amy Washburn.

It is federally required that gas lines are flagged so they can be noticed above ground, but Southwest Gas says these lines were not marked.

So, it's no surprise the people living here had no idea the lines ran through their neighborhood.

The real victim in this situation is 39-year-old Jason Nelson. Police say he was doing repairs on the property when the explosion occurred.

His loved ones say he will be in the hospital for several more months with burns on 80% of his body.

A website has been set up to help Jason and his family. If you would like donate, you can do so here.

As of Tuesday night, there are six families who are still not allowed back in their homes.

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