Investigation into fatal gas explosion underway

Published: Sep. 29, 2010 at 9:54 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2010 at 9:47 PM EDT
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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

CAIRO, GA (WALB) –Some people who live near the site of a gas explosion that killed a Cairo utility worker are still frightened.

A leaking gas line in a residential area erupted into flames Tuesday.

One city worker was killed, another badly injured.

The state public service commission now says it could be months before investigators figured out what triggered the deadly blast.

Flags flew at half-staff in Cairo Wednesday in memory of Wendell Harrison. Harrison, a Cairo gas employee, was killed in an explosion Tuesday.

"It's not common," says Bill Edge, a spokesperson for the Georgia Public Service Commission. "As far as pipelines, it's very unusual that we have an incident like this. We do have incidences from time to time. I think the last explosion we had was in north Georgia back in the spring. But that was found to be an act of deliberate arson. "

The State's Public Service Commission, which is in charge of regulating pipeline safety, is investigating the accident.

"All I know is that we can't say what happened simply because our investigation isn't complete," Edge explains.

With questions lingering, he can give the answer on whether this neighborhood is now safe.

"Our investigators will make sure that all precautions have been taken. They are experts in pipeline safety."

And he says they're working with several agencies to ensure no further danger.

The Georgia Public Service Commission says its final investigative report will include the cause of the gas explosion, any safety violations, and whether any penalties will be taken against the City of Cairo.

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