Mayor: No calls to report gas smell before Elizabeth house explosion

The mayor of Elizabeth says that no one called the city or a gas company to report the smell of gas before a house exploded, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others. On Friday, Mayor

News 12 Staff

Nov 14, 2015, 3:35 AM

Updated 3,080 days ago

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Mayor: No calls to report gas smell before Elizabeth house explosion
The mayor of Elizabeth says that no one called the city or a gas company to report the smell of gas before a house exploded, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.
On Friday, Mayor Chris Bollwage said some residents now say they had smelled gas Tuesday evening, hours before the explosion Wednesday morning.
He says some tenants told investigators that they told the landlord about the gas smell Tuesday night, but the landlord has disputed that.
The mayor also says there was an illegal apartment on the ground floor that was illegally getting gas and electric.
"How was that person getting the gas and what pipes were going into that ground floor remain to be determined," Mayor Bollwage says.
Mayor Bollwage also says that a gas dryer was removed from the first floor of the home at the end of September, and that it is possible the gas line was not properly capped when the dryer was removed.
Investigators have not yet pinpointed where the explosion originated.
According to Mayor Bollwage, Elizabethtown Gas did come to the home on Tuesday to turn gas service on in the first-floor apartment. However, service had already been turned on and some are wondering why the company didn't do more to investigate.
A spokesperson for Elizabethtown Gas says in a statement that the company's technician did exactly what he was supposed to do.
"In the course of his work, the technician entered the first-floor apartment and spoke to the customer. No leak was reported to our technician, and he found no evidence of a leak while he was performing his work. Our technician also was not informed of the existence of the illegal apartment on the ground floor."
Police say 24-year-old Femi Brown died in the blast. Two people, including an 11-year-old, remain in critical condition with severe burns.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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