advertisement

Kansas City fire department changes response rules for gas leaks

Friday, March 15, 2013 | 11:16 a.m. CDT; updated 1:16 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 15, 2013

KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Fire Department has enhanced its procedures for responding to gas leaks like the one that preceded the fatal explosion at a restaurant last month, Fire Chief Paul Berardi announced.

Berardi said Thursday that a battalion chief and a fire truck equipped with gas level monitoring equipment will be sent on any call involving possible natural gas leaks, The Kansas City Star reported. Firefighters also will stay on the scene until the risk is resolved and consult with gas utility experts to determine if evacuations are necessary.

The new procedures were not in place Feb. 19 when firefighters responded to a call of a gas leak an hour before an explosion and fire destroyed JJ's restaurant, killing one woman and injuring about 15 people. The blast occurred after a contractor ruptured an underground gas pipe.

"Injuries to the public and the loss of property weigh heavily on firefighters, whether in major events such as this or in the fires and accidents we address every day," Berardi said. "KCFD accordingly reviews all major operations, especially those involving injury or a fatality, for the purpose of improving firefighters' ability to better protect human life and property."

The Fire Department said in a report that one pumper truck crew was sent to the reported gas leak near JJ's, and left later after a Missouri Gas Energy employee arrived and said he "had the situation under control" and that the fire crew could leave. The fire crew told restaurant staff to keep all ignition sources off and told them to await an all-clear from the gas company.

City Councilman John Sharp, chairman of the public safety committee, said he was pleased by the fire department changes in procedure.

"It's bad enough to have a tragedy like this but it would be worse if you don't learn from it," Sharp said.

On Wednesday, the city released a report that determined the explosion was caused by the accidental ignition of natural gas vapors that accumulated inside JJ's restaurant. The report said two pilot lights were on at JJ's before the explosion.

A separate investigation is being conducted into the gas line breach.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements