Experts say natural gas explosions far too common - KCTV5

Experts say natural gas explosions far too common

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga). Two men look at the rubble of JJ's restaurant after an explosion and fire tore through the establishment Tuesday evening near the Country Club Plaza Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga). Two men look at the rubble of JJ's restaurant after an explosion and fire tore through the establishment Tuesday evening near the Country Club Plaza Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo.
KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -

Natural gas pipeline experts say explosions from leaks are far too common, especially in cities with hundreds of miles of underground lines.

Federal law designates gas companies as the primary responders during natural gas emergencies, but sometimes even experts can be caught off-guard by gas build-ups that end in tragedies such as the explosion Tuesday at JJ's restaurant in Kansas City.

Pipeline safety consultant Richard Kuprewicz of Redmond, Wash., says it's typically up to the gas company to decide whether to evacuate during a leak. Even so, he says it's a good idea for anyone who smells a strong gas odor to leave the area immediately.

Rebecca Craven with Pipeline Safety Trust in Bellingham, Wash., says 37% of the most serious natural gas incidents are caused by excavation damage.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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