Are our gas pipelines safe?

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Share your experiences with Washington Gas in the comments section. You can also look at the documents for yourself. We’ve linked them in the text.

Gas explosions, like the one that destroyed a home in Chantilly, have been a cause of concern for residents. (Photo: ABC7)

On the night of December 19th, 2010, a home exploded in Chantilly, Virginia. Firefighters had received a call for a gas leak, but by the time they arrived the blast had brought the home to the ground. According to eyewitnesses, the front door landed across the street in a neighbor’s yard.

The home belonged to the Nguyens, a family of four who thankfully, were out to dinner. First generation Americans, they say it represented their American dream. “Everything we built up for my whole life and it's gone,” says Thuan Nguyen. “It's really tough to look at.”

According to the Fire Marshal’s report, the explosion “was most likely due to the ignition of natural gas…” (read the entire report here). A spokesman told ABC 7 News that gas leaking from a pipe in the street had migrated into the home.

ABC 7 News could not get any more information about the explosion, because Washington Gas won’t release its investigation. Larry Leeds, President of the Brookfield Civic Association, has advocated for the family and the neighborhood. “I think Washington gas is screwing around,” he says, “because they don't want to pay any money. I understand that. This is all about the money.”

Over a series of months, ABC 7 News has looked into Washington Gas. In the process, we obtained a surprising internal memo, sent during deliberations over how to address a spike of leaks in Prince George’s County. It reads, “We are NOT planning on an overall leak survey since that could result in finding new leaks” (read the entire memo here).

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