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"Case Studies" > Construction - Contractor Liability > Utility Company Not Liable for Explosion Caused by Contractor Error

Utility Company Not Liable for Explosion Caused by Contractor Error

Summary:


Another animation frame from a reconstruction of how the plumbing
contractor changed the critical separation distance between the gas service
line and the water pipe.

When a plumbing contractor installed an underground water line in a business district alley, he negligently moved a gas service line too close to the metal water pipe. Later, an electrical surge in a neighborhood power station several hundred feet away energized the water pipe along its entire length. When the electricity reached the gas line it arced, causing it to rupture and leak gas into the ground, and eventually into the basement of an adjacent building. A resulting explosion nearly killed a man. He in turn sued the power company. Graphics helped demonstrate who was really at fault.


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