Multiple Gas Leaks Reported Before Deadly Dallas Explosion: NTSB

A preliminary federal report released Friday indicates natural gas leaks were first detected in a Dallas neighborhood nearly two months before a house explosion that killed a 12-year-old girl.

The report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the investigation into the fatal explosion at 3534 Espanola Drive said leaks were first detected in the area Jan. 1.

The explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rodgers and injured four of her family members didn't occur until Feb. 23.

Following the fatal explosion, approximately 2,800 Dallas residents in the area were impacted and more than 300 homes were evacuated. A complete replacement of all gas lines in the area that started after the blast was 95% complete as of Friday evening.

The NTSB also said two other homes near Rodgers' home experienced gas-related incidents on Feb. 21 and 22, just before the fatal explosion.

Dallas Gas Leaks 2016-17

The map below shows all reported gas leaks from 2016-2017 using seven different types of pipe: Medium Density Polyethylene, Coated Steel, Bare Steel, Cast Iron, Aldyl Polyethylene, Copper, Poly-Vinyl-Chloride and others.


Dallas Gas Leaks, Cast Iron 2016-17

The map below shows all reported gas leaks from 2016-2017 where the line was constructed using cast iron pipe.


The two homes were just across the alley from the Espanola Drive explosion, the first 415 feet away and the second explosion less than 310 feet.

The first incident on Feb. 21 was reported by officials as an explosion and subsequent fire at 3527 Durango Drive. The resident told the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department that he woke up to "popping noises." He went to his attic and noticed a loose cover plate on the HVAC unit as well the pilot light on and when he went to fix the cover plate the explosion occured, burning and throwing him several feet.

The second incident took place the next morning on the same street at 3515 Durango Drive. The resident told DFR that the incident began while he was in his kitchen. He was boiling water when flames turned "red and out of control." The fire moved from the stove to attic quickly, causing significant damage. The man was also injured on his arm and leg.

Officials have classified the other two homes that suffered explosions as undetermined and the National Travel Security Board is still investigating whether the three incidents were related.

Records obtained by NBC5 show more than 6,500 gas leaks were reported to the state by Atmos in 2016 and 2017.  They occured all over the County, not just in the Northwest Dallas area where pipes are being replaced now.

Atmos deferred questions on the report to the NTSB. It did not answer questions from NBC5 this week.

NTSB Report

Map of Evacuated Area

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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