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Gas company's failure to mark gas lines caused Camby house explosion, state report says

Posted: 6:00 AM, Oct 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-09 19:17:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A gas explosion that leveled one home and damaged several others last November in Camby, is now being blamed on the gas company for not marking the lines after a contractor called 811, according to a state report obtained by Call 6 Investigates.

The gas explosion last November occurred after a contractor working for Comcast was digging in the area and hit a gas line, Call 6 learned last year.

According to documents and reports from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's investigation, the contractor never knew the gas line was there, because the gas company, Vectren, never came out to mark their lines.

READ | Camby house explosion caused by gas leak, according to chief  | IURC: Camby house explosion caused by excavator in area

State laws require anyone digging on their property to call 811 two days before they start digging unless they are a homeowner digging on their own property less than 12 inches deep with hand tools. That allows the different utility companies to come out to the location and mark their lines with spray paint and flags.

The contractor called the 811 number 18 days before they began digging in the Camby neighborhood, according to those reports. 

 

 

 

The investigation over the past 11 months by the regulatory commission also sheds light on other issues with Vectren lines not being marked within the two-day requirement under state law.

According to the report, Vectren failed to timely locate its lines in at least 148 instances in 2016 and 162 instances in 2017. 

Vectren also failed to have accurate facility records and maps in 58 instances in 2016 and 66 instances in 2017. 

Both are violations of Indiana law.

Vectren will pay the state $736,000 in fines, according to the regulatory commission’s case and settlement agreement with the gas company. The gas company is also working with homeowner's insurance companies in the area.

Vectren released the following statement on the incident: 

In the Camby Incident, an installer for a cable company bored through an underground natural gas line while working at a residence.  That bore resulted in an explosion and fire, which destroyed the house.  A locating request for the address had been issued (and had not been worked), when a second locating request for the address was issued, and was still pending at the time of the incident.  There was confusion about the status of the multiple locate requests.  There was additional confusion because two different gas companies were contacted for locates.

Vectren has agreed to pay a substantial penalty for the Camby Incident. Vectren does not concede that its failure to locate was the only cause of the Camby Damage. Regardless, Vectren understands that it is important to continue to engage in continuous improvement efforts to avoid this type of incident. Vectrenperforms hundreds of thousands of facility locates every year associated with construction activities.

Vectren’s overall compliance program reflects how seriously we treat pipeline safety issues.  Facility locating is a particular area of focus for Vectren.  For 2017, Vectren achieved top quartile locate performance, in an American Gas Association (AGA) survey of members, and Vectren’s goal is to achieve Top Decile AGA performance in the future.

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