OKLAHOMA CITY – Over 10 months after a home explosion sent three people to the hospital, an Oklahoma company agreed to pay more than $1 million in fines.
On Jan. 2, emergency crews rushed to a home on Whispering Hollow Dr. after it suddenly exploded in the early morning hours.
In all, three people were injured and dozens of homes were damaged in the neighborhood.
Initially, fire investigators said it was obvious that natural gas found its way to an ignition source inside the home, which led to the explosion.
An official report from Oklahoma Natural Gas confirms the cause of the explosion was a crack in one of the welds of the plastic pipes.
According to the report, along with the poor workmanship, a leak resulted from a crack in a butt fusion weld in a four-inch plastic pipe.
In August, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission released its own report, citing ONG’s “failure to analyze” the joints on the pipe and “failure to properly investigate” the original odor report played a role in the explosion.
“Had Technician 1 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,” the report concludes.
Last month, the director of the Transportation Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission filed a formal complaint against Oklahoma Natural Gas.
The report alleges that the “Pipeline Safety Department documented eight previous pipeline leak failures from December 1983 to February 2012 in the same area as the explosion.”
“Along with the leak detection methods used the day before the explosion, the Applicant alleges that, pursuant to the report and NOPV, proper procedures were not used to monitor and investigate pipeline leaks along a natural gas main line in the area of Whispering Hollow Drive in Oklahoma City,” it states.
The complaint alleges that ONG “failed to perform, or document performance of, continued surveillance when responding to eight leak failures.” Also, the agency claims ONG failed to investigate the cause of the leak failures and didn’t perform a bar hole survey.
During a court proceeding on Wednesday, Oklahoma Natural Gas agreed to pay $1,010,000, adding that the money will not come from rate payers.
The company waived its right to a full hearing, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission says the settlement resolves all complaints in the order.
The settlement still needs to be approved by the commissioners.