GJ hires 
engineers 
to probe 
gas blast

The city of Grand Junction’s insurance company has hired an independent investigator to look into the circumstances surrounding the gas leak and explosion on March 19.

Three people were injured and two homes were destroyed after an explosion at one of the homes, 1752 N. Seventh St. The fire spread to next door, burning down the home at 1742 N. Seventh St.

The Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency has hired engineers from the Littleton-based Advanced Engineering Investigations Corporation. The group’s engineers have experience in gas explosion investigations, including finding the cause and origin of an event, city officials said in a news release Tuesday.

A full investigation is expected to “take a significant period of time because of the nature of the incident, the number of parties involved and in the interest of the investigation being as complete as possible,” the city said in the news release.

City officials say other parties also have retained consultants to investigate the gas leak and explosion.

The explosion happened after a worker with Apeiron Utility Construction, a contractor hired by the city to upgrade utilities for a traffic signal at Seventh Street and Orchard Avenue, accidentally broke a high-pressure natural gas line. An Apeiron employee called 911 to report the break and indicated the gas line may have been unmarked, according to a recording obtained by The Daily Sentinel.

Kolby Gimmeson, a resident of the home that blew up, told the Sentinel he and his roommate were sitting on the couch watching a movie when they were overcome by an intense odor. They lit incense, which Gimmeson said was immediately followed by a flash and an explosion that blew them out of the house.

The explosion and resulting fire happened about an hour after the gas line break.



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