This week, People’s Natural Gas was observed digging on Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the rubble from the home that exploded and subsequently caught on fire. PNG has now released a statement that they believe they know what caused the gas leak, and it confirms what most already suspected that morning.
Multiple investigation are still ongoing. However, spokesman for PNG Barry Kukovich said that the gas leak is believed to be caused by drilling during work on the water project in Tyrone. Kukovich released a statement: “Our preliminary investigation leads us to believe that the gas leak on July 26 in Tyrone was due to our pipeline being struck by a horizontal drill operated by a contractor working on a water project. We have determined that our lines were property marked. We have conducted safety checks along the streets of Tyrone to make sure that no other parts of our system have been affected, and we continue to work with multiple agencies that are conducting ongoing investigations.”
The open construction hole on Pennsylvania Ave. kept filling with gas that morning, requiring fire departments to move their personnel back several times in order for that issue to be resolved. In addition, the smell of natural gas continued to be detected from that area, until PNG essentially pinched off the lines.
Tyrone Police, State Fire Marshal and the Public Utility Commission continue their investigations. Interim Tyrone Police Chief Jessica Walk told The Daily Herald, “It is still an ongoing investigation and we have no further information at this time. The Fire Marshall [sic.] report and accident reconstruction report is not back yet.”
A PNG employee at residence at the time of the leak was also injured July 26 during the explosion. PNG had been called for the report of a smell of gas.
Following the disaster in Tyrone, Neptune Fire Chief Alan Walls told The Daily Herald that residents should be reminded to always call the gas company as soon as they smell gas — both the gas company and 911.