Firefighter explains how to prevent natural gas explosions - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Firefighter explains how to prevent natural gas explosions

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Family friends said 13-year-old Hannah Mozingo died after the explosion in Brooke County on Friday. Another person was flown to the hospital.

Some say the explosion could be heard and felt for miles. One neighbor said their windows and front door was blown off.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation but authorities believe the problem was due to natural gas.

So how can you make sure your home doesn't have natural gas issues?

A deadly explosion of this magnitude is very rare. However, Princeton Firefighter Charlie Croy told 59News small accidents involving gas leaks are unfortunately all too common.

"I would say we probably have around 20 or 30 calls a year dealing with gas emergencies," Croy said.

Not all gas leaks are preventable but for the ones that are, Croy explained how you can stop an accident from happening in the first place.

"An approved maintenance worker can come in and take care of the water heater where the gas line comes into the house, check for leaks there. Check around the water heater, the furnace and kitchen stove and make sure the burners are operating properly," he told us.

He offered 59News a few more safety tips.

"The gas companies put an odorant in the gas lines called mercaptan and it gives it the rotten egg smell. The biggest thing is to recognize when you have a problem and then react to it."

When shopping for a new appliance, make sure national safety standards have been met.

"You want to make sure you have an approved device, the UL listing, which is the Underwriters Laboratories, to make sure you have something that is approved and that does meet the safety standards," Croy told us.

The biggest take home message, he said, is to react quickly.

"The most important thing is to evacuate whenever they notice a problem or they even think that there's a problem, to evacuate the home and get a safe distance from it, and then call 911."

You can also purchase a gas leak detector.