Linda "Michelita" Rogers, the 12-year-old girl killed in a natural gas explosion in her Dallas home in Feb. 23, 2018, will be honored Wednesday morning at the Texas capitol.
Texas Rep. Rafael M. Anchia (D-Dallas Dist. 103) made the announcement last week and called for action by lawmakers to "ensure that this type of tragedy never happens again," Anchia said.
Rogers was quietly getting ready for school on the morning of Feb. 23, 2018 when natural gas that filled her home ignited, destroying the home, injuring several of her family members and killing her. Days before the 1-year anniversary of the explosion, Rogers' family released several videos she recorded that morning showing her final moments — unaware of the combustible danger around her.
"On this solemn occasion, we grieve for the loss of Michelita, and send our deepest condolences to her family, but we also use this occasion to continue the fight to keep our community safe, and ensure that no family suffers the heartbreaking loss that the Rogers family has endured," Anchia said in a statement.
The state representative said he's filed a number of bills to improve gas system safety by strengthening regulatory oversight and requiring accelerated replacement of aged gas lines.
"House Bills 857 through House Bill 860 are based on recommendations from the Texas Sunset Commission. House Bills 862 through House Bill 868 provide increased transparency and regulation within the gas utilities," Anchia said in a statement.
In response to Anchia's planned legislation, Atmos told NBC 5 they have invested more than $3 billion in replacing pipe in the Mid-Tex division since 2005 and that in November they announced a new five-year plan for the division which includes an investment of $4 billion over that time period.
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"We will continue to work alongside our key stakeholders, regulators and state legislators to advance any proposals that will help us achieve our long-held vision of being the safest provider of natural gas utility services," Atmos said.
Since the explosion, Atmos said it has replaced 98 miles of pipe in Dallas, which is 75 percent more than all of what was replaced in 2017. Additionally, Atmos has brought on 75 contract crews, a 250 percent increase over 2017, to conduct the work. They have also filed the 8.209 supplement "which outlined our plans for accelerated pipe replacement, including the complete removal of cast iron by December 2021.