Report: Junction 
shares no blame 
in gas explosion

A preliminary report by a company hired by the city of Grand Junction’s insurance company to investigate circumstances surrounding a natural gas explosion on Seventh Street on March 19 determined the city is not at fault.

The investigation and report by Advanced Engineering Investigations determined the city “did not contribute in any way to the cause of the explosion.”

“To what degree the actions of Safe Site Utilities, Apeiron, and Excel (sic) contributed to the cause of the explosion is still under investigation,” the report continued.

The report was commissioned by the city’s insurance company, Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency.

Natural gas that traveled from a struck line caused the home at 1752 North Seventh Street to explode and the home next door, 1742 North Seventh St., also caught on fire and burned to the ground. Several people sustained burns in the explosion, but no one was killed.

A day before the explosion, on March 18, Safe Site Utilities located two natural gas lines about three feet deep, running north to south along North Seventh Street. The westernmost of the two lines was determined to be abandoned, according to Safe Site Utilities, the report said.

Apeiron employee Eric McClellan told investigators with AEI that he was directionally boring into the ground at a depth of 60 inches, or five feet, because survey information about gas line locations at the site indicated that one natural gas line was 30 inches deep and another was 27 inches deep.

The natural gas line that was struck before the explosion was a line directly beneath an abandoned line, the report said.

Grand Junction Mayor Sam Susuras said he was reassured that any actions by the city did not play a role in the explosion and fires.  “While we were comfortable all along that the city had no role in the cause, we are pleased to have official confirmation of this fact,” Susuras said in a release.


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