June 11, 2012

UGI cited over safety violations in Allentown gas explosion

Investigators recommend the utility be fined $386,000


By Scott Kraus, Of The Morning Call

1:34 p.m. EDT, June 11, 2012

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission investigators have cited UGI Utilities for multiple safety violations in connection with the devastating 2011 gas explosion in Allentown, recommending a series of corrective actions and the imposition of a $386,000 fine on the utility, the maximum allowed by law.

The cause, as suspected, was a leak emanating from a crack in an 83-year-old cast-iron gas distribution line buried beneath Allen Street. The formation of the crack was accelerated by corrosion where the pipe was supported by wooden blocks.

The findings are a result of a 16-month investigation conducted by the PUC in cooperation with UGI Utilities, whose gas lines erupted in the late evening of Feb. 9, 2011, at 13th and Allen streets, flattening eight homes and killing five people.