Natural gas leaked from faulty fittings at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania when a powerful explosion collapsed one building, severely damaged another, and killed seven people, federal safety investigators say. announced Tuesday that it is seeking to identify the cause.
The latest investigation report released by the National Transportation Safety Board said the leak at RM Palmer’s plant in West Reading was found to have broken through a gas connection installed in 1982.
The fitting, made by DuPont and known to crack easily, was added to the federal government’s list of pipe materials with a “poor performance history” in 2007, according to the Safety Commission.
Investigators also determined there was a small leak in a natural gas fitting installed in 2021, the commission said.
At the time of the March 24 explosion, approximately 70 Palmer manufacturing staff and 35 administrative staff were working in two adjacent buildings. Employees at both buildings told federal investigators they smelled gas before the explosions. Workers at the plant accused Palmer of ignoring warnings of a natural gas leak and argued that the small town 60 miles (96 km) northwest of Philadelphia should have been evacuated. there is
UGI Corp. supplied natural gas to the factory complex via two trunk lines. UGI said there were no public works in the area and no sudden surge in gas usage was detected prior to the explosion.
Safety investigators determined that UGI replaced the service line at the Palmer plant in 2021, but left the 1982 service tee connected to the system and fully pressurized.
The cracked joint was less than two feet from other pipelines running between the two factory buildings, including steam lines, condensate lines, and several pipelines filled with heated chocolate. bottom. Investigators said they also saw cracks in steam pipes.
NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said Tuesday it was “not yet at a stage to say what caused the explosion,” but said investigators believed a gas leak could have caused or contributed.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/gas-leaked-from-bad-fitting-at-pennsylvania-chocolate-factory-where-7-died-in-blast-report-says/3606669/ Pennsylvania Chocolate Factory Explosion Kills 7, Reportedly Gas Leaks from Poor Installation – NBC10 Philadelphia