Building explosions in New York City have become way too common and expected and gas leaks are the primary cause causing causalities, personal injury and catastrophic wreckage.
Here are a three signs to help recognize a gas leak:
- Gas has a very distinct strong smell comparable to rotten eggs
- Look for a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, blowing dust or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason
- Listen to notice if you hear a roaring, hissing or whistling sound
If you see these signs and think there is a gas leak, here’s what you should do:
- If the odor is strong, leave immediately and take others with you. Notify your neighbors.
- If you are outside and you smell gas you should vacate the area immediately.
- Once away from the area use your cell phone to call 911. If you do not have a cell phone find a phone away from the area and call 911.
- DO NOT light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode which could be disastrous.
The big mistake people make is they assume someone else will report the problem so they do nothing or they don’t report the gas leak to the proper authorities. Do not assume someone else will report the condition. In the East village explosion on March 29, 2015, that killed two people, a restaurant owner stated he smelled gas and contacted the building’s owner, but didn’t contact authorities. This was a “major mistake” according to New York Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito, “they should have called 911,” he said. “We don’t know what the outcome would have been.”
The same is true with the explosion in East Harlem last year that killed eight people and injured at least 70 others. Reports indicated residents didn’t notify authorities when they first started smelling the rotten egg odor until it was too late.
Notify your utility provider if there is a problem with your service. If you are a Con Edison customer call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). National Grid customers can call 1-718-643-4050.