There is a chemical that is put into natural gas before sending it to homes. This tell-tale scent lets people know there is a gas leak. Natural gas is otherwise odorless and clear. This scent may have saved the lives of many people from a huge gas explosion in Columbus.
A worker at a Domino’s smelled gas and went to investigate. He saw road workers leaving the area quickly and a big bulge in the street where gas was bubbling up through a main gas line. The quick-thinking worker evacuated the Domino’s restaurant. Less than 2 minutes later, two explosions occurred, leveling the restaurant.
Flames over 30 feet high erupted from the hole and lasted for two hours. The workers were trying to lay conduit under the road with a boring machine when they hit a high-pressure gas line that was six inches in diameter. They did have permission to dig. It’s unknown whether someone dug too deep or if the area was improperly marked.
One thing is for sure, if that worker didn’t smell that gas this could have been a much worse problem. There was only one injury and that was from someone in one of the surrounding buildings who fell trying to escape the flames.
The whole area had to be evacuated as firefighters didn’t want to risk another explosion. All of the surrounding buildings and the sewer system had to be checked for further gas leaks.
The burn injuries that can come from gas explosions can cover the entire body in a flash. If you ever smell natural gas, you should shut off the leak if possible. But if the air is thick with the smell, leave immediately by foot and call 911 once you’re out of range. If you or a loved one have been burned, you may want to read our resource pages to know what to expect for your burn treatment.