Oklahoma Corporation Commission releases report on house explosion

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Corporation Commission released their report on Wednesday following the investigation into ta house explosion in northwest Oklahoma City.

On January 2, emergency crews were called to a house explosion at 12505 Whispering Hollow Dr. in Oklahoma City.

The man sleeping inside the home had to be rushed to the hospital with burns over his arms and chest.

An elderly couple who lived next door also was checked out by paramedics on the scene.

The blast leveled one home and damaged numerous others.

The Corporation Commission’s report details the timeline leading up to the explosion and things it says Oklahoma Natural Gas failed to do that contributed to the incident.

At 3:50 p.m. on Jan. 1, a homeowner called to report a gas odor complaint.

A technician with ONG came out, classified the leak as non-hazardous and told the homeowner a work crew would be back on Monday, Jan. 4.

But later that night, at 11:50 p.m., another homeowner called in the gas odor.

A different technician came out who was unaware of the first complaint.

And at 3:19 a.m. on Jan. 2, while the crew was still out investigating, the house exploded.

The probable cause was listed as the failure of the 4-inch PE main in the fusion joint.

But contributing to it, OCC says was ONG’s failure to analyze eight previous joint failures along the same line in the Walnut Creek Subdivision.

Also, the report pointed out their failure to properly investigate the first odor complaint.

The report states, “Had the first technician followed ONG procedures, the precise location of the leak would have been identified, resulting in additional information being made available to judge the severity of the situation.”

Michael Boyd’s grandparents, Wayne and Darwenia Boyd, are the elderly couple who lived next door to the home that exploded.

He says he was not surprised by any of the findings in the Oklahoma Corporation Commission report.

“When you’re at fault, you’re at fault. And they’re at fault, big time. They’re just lucky no one died,” said Boyd.

One of the previous leaks along the line happened in his grandfather’s backyard back in 1990.

“Gas was shooting up over the house, like a geyser,” said Boyd. “The truth that we’ve known the entire time is finally in black and white and there’s been known issues out here.”

That first odor complaint on the afternoon of Jan. 1 was made by his grandfather.

“Absolutely makes me angry. Very angry because the whole thing’s been danced around and well, you know, 'We’ve reached out and tried to help and do this.' And flat out, no you haven’t. You failed miserably,” said Boyd.

He says his grandparents are trying to heal and move on from the traumatic incident.

“He’s still very frustrated and has a lot of resentment and anger, and the whole family does. I mean and again, very thankful that we still have our grandparents,” said Boyd.

ONG could be facing fines up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The company sent us this statement.

"Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) has a responsibility to our customers and our communities to operate safely and efficiently. We recently received the report from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) concerning the incident at a residence at 12505 Whispering Hollow Drive in Oklahoma City that occurred on Jan. 2, 2016. We sincerely regret the incident and remain committed to working with those who have been impacted.

Following the explosion, ONG immediately took responsibility and started an investigation in cooperation with the OCC to proactively identify and correct any issues that may have contributed to the event. We have met with affected residents to explain our investigation and our response, how to file a claim, and answered questions.

We will continue to work with the OCC to address the matters raised in the report. We acknowledge and appreciate the diligence of the OCC Pipeline Safety Department as they investigated this incident. We want to reassure to our customers and the public, that our pipeline system is safe."

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