At 7:38pm on Tuesday, February 7, it was business as usual in West Akron. Jeopardy was still in the first round for the evening, and bedtime was a mere twenty minutes away for dozens of grade school students. A minute later, the world rocked on its foundations for almost 30 square miles; a house at the corner of Courtland Avenue and South Hawkins Avenue had violently exploded. First responders found the structure virtually flattened and an unidentified man in his 30s bleeding and covered in burns in the yard.
A massive explosion
The Akron Beacon Journal reported, “Firefighters are investigating, but [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][Akron Fire Department spokesman Michael] Brooks said the explosion was likely caused by natural gas. People were evacuated from nearby homes, and gas and electric workers were on the scene as late at 9:30 p.m. trying to cut off the gas as the fire burned on.”
It was determined that the explosion was most likely intentionally caused by the man first responders rescued from the yard. That man, one Rodney Hylton, was charged with aggravated arson (a first-degree felony) and later admitted to tampering with his stove’s gas burners and a gas cap in an attempt at self-harm. Luckily, no one other than Hylton was injured in the explosion. However, the incident does serve to highlight a little known fact about natural gas lines; namely, that gas leaks are everywhere.
Infrastructure isn’t just bridges and tunnels
Last year, Nicholas Kawa wrote an article for The Atlantic about his experience checking gas lines in Chicago suburbs during high school. He was surprised to learn that, “The bulk of the gas leaks identified are left leaking. Those between five to 15 feet from a house or structure would receive a check-up after six months. Leaks more than 15 feet from a building were noted but required no special attention. Many of the leaks persisted for years and even decades.”
Luckily, natural gas explosions are fairly rare; leaks generally have to occur in an enclosed space to have any chance of causing an explosion. When gas leaks do lead to an explosion, however, those explosions tend to cause catastrophic injuries. Natural gas explosions can cause concussion injuries and internal and external burns. However, it’s not just the heat and force of the concussion that cause problems; an explosion sets up a shockwave that propagates through the air around it. These shockwaves travel at tremendous speeds and move through anything in their path; objects are thrown, glass is shattered, and every object in the immediate area becomes a dangerous projectile. Whether explosions are an act of arson or an act of God, serious injuries are often the result.
If your loved one was seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. The experienced Ohio catastrophic injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call our Kentucky legal team at 877.651.7764, our Ohio legal team at 877.686.8879 or contact us today.