While gas leaks have the potential to be devastating should an explosion occur, they can also prove harmful in other ways. This was evident in the recent wrongful death suit filed by a California woman’s family after a months’ long gas leak was implicated in her death.
NBC Los Angeles reports on the case, which involved a 79-year-old cancer stricken woman and potential exacerbating effects of a gas leak linked to Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon facility. As the leak entered the home over a period of months, the formerly active woman’s health quickly deteriorated. Due to the woman’s seemingly rapid decline and the presence of symptoms like migraines, the suit alleges that the ongoing leak served to quicken her death.
Many other residents have complained about the strong odor of gas occurring within the community, and have cited numerous health issues related the odor. Although the Los Angeles County Health Department claims that exposure to gas entails no long-term effects, concentration samples taken over a period of 12 to 24 hours may be required to provide a more accurate picture. As a precaution, thousands of students have been relocated to schools unaffected by the leak for the remainder of the year.
In the event of a suspected gas leak, Pacific Gas & Electric offers instructions on how to safely handle the situation. There are a number of indications of a gas leak in addition to just odor alone, such a hissing or roaring sounds or obvious damage to gas connections. Because even the smallest spark can ignite a gas leak, flashlights (not matches or a lighter) should be used when investigating a potential problem. If odor persists or other issues arise, immediate evacuation is crucial. Emergency personnel can be contacted once everyone is a safe distance from the site.