According to an investigation released by the Public Service Commission in March 2014, a National Grid employee has been linked to two Long Island home explosions that occurred in 2011 and 2012. The blasts injured more than 20 people and resulted in millions of dollars in property damage. National Grid will be fined between $2 million and $4 million dollars, including a violation for not drug testing the employee after the explosions as required by state law. In addition, the company will also compensate homeowners for any damaged property. National Grid would not release the name of the employee or discuss if he or she is still employed with the company.
The Public Service Commission’s investigation revealed that the worker failed to put a locking device on a gas line at a vacant home on Fourth Street in Brentwood, New York in 2011. The device would have prevented gas from leaking into the home. The employee also failed to inspect a service regulator, a device which controls gas pressure. Eleven days after the employee performed the work, the Brentwood home exploded, causing $3 million in damage to neighboring houses and sending 21 people to the hospital.
In 2012, the same employee serviced a water heater at an apartment in Central Islip. Investigators revealed that the employee failed to relight the water heater and test the gas meter and gas pipes. Minutes after the employee left the apartment, the building exploded.
Joel Latimore, who owned the apartment, told reporters that his tenant told the National Grid employee that he smelled gas. Latimore said, “He [the employee] just told him, ‘You have to open up the window. Everything will be fine.'”
While the Public Service Commission linked the worker to the two blasts, investigators still don’t know what triggered the explosions.
Website Resource: National Grid worker linked to two Long Island gas explosions: probe, NY Post, Bill Sanderson, March 9, 2014
National Grid Employee Linked to Two LI Gas Explosions, longisland.com, Eric Anderson, March 9, 2014