Investigators say Energy Company Was Alerted of Gas Leaks Prior to Deadly Explosion in Dallas

A government report indicated that the natural gas operator involved in a February house explosion that killed a 12-year old girl in Dallas had been alerted 7 weeks earlier of gas leaks in the neighborhood.

Atmos Energy is named in a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board which stated the company was made aware Jan. 1 of leaks prior to the blast that killed 12-year old Linda “Michellita” Rogers.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Atmos finally responded over the weekend to questions about the leaks and the prior knowledge. The company said it replaced a service line in January after a “nonhazardous” leak was detected Jan. 1.

The company began making repairs after leaks were found on the evening of Feb. 22, hours before the house in question blew up killing the girl.

“In the 48 hours prior to the accident at 3534 Espanola Drive, work crews from Atmos Energy (Atmos) were in the neighborhood to investigate gas-related fires at two residences on Durango Drive,” stated the NTSB report.

In one instance, a man was injured in a smaller explosion at his home. In the other, a man was burned when flames on his gas stove shot out of control and set the house afire.

“Atmos had performed various repair work prior to and during  these three incidents occurred,” added the NTSB.

Investigators also discovered a cracked pipeline behind the house that exploded after three sections of the pipe failed pressure tests. The report indicated the crack ran around the circumference of the pipe.

“As stated on the NTSB News Release, information contained in the report is preliminary and subject to change as the investigation continues, and as such, no conclusions about probable cause should be drawn from the contents of the preliminary report,” a spokeswoman for the gas company told the newspaper.