How safe are local natural gas lines? - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

How safe are local natural gas lines?

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14 News located lines in the northern and western parts of the county using the Natural Pipeline Mapping System. 14 News located lines in the northern and western parts of the county using the Natural Pipeline Mapping System.

A woman who lived in the home that was the center of a deadly explosion in Indianapolis doesn't think the furnace caused the blast.

Monserrate Shirley says her thermostat was replaced recently, correcting a problem heating the home, but she says the furnace was fine.

Shirley also said she smelled a strange odor outside before the blast, but doesn't know if it was natural gas. She and her daughter were not home when the explosion happened Saturday, killing two people and decimating their neighborhood.

Investigators say they believe gas was involved and they are focusing on appliances.

Underground gas lines can be dangerous, but utility officials say they are closely checked and monitored. But, accidents do happen.

A gas substation for Vectren is located off the Lloyd Expressway near Bar Louie, and much of the natural gas is delivered from this station through lines under ground right into your home.

Many in Evansville will remember what happened on April 3rd, 2004 when a natural gas explosion leveled a home on Lincoln Avenue, killing two people and hurting several others.  

"All of our appliances and everything are electric," resident Jamie Arvin said. 

The Arvin family says they learned a natural gas line is buried right below their neighborhood when they first moved in.

"The house is actually plumbed for it, but I made, when we bought the house, I had Vectren make sure it was turned off and everything else because we don't want to use it," Jeff Arvin said.

For the Arvins, the issue was cost. When they bought their home, they say going electric was cheaper than tapping into a gas line.

"The price has gone up but it's still a lot cheaper than what the gas is," Jeff said.

According to Vectren, there are 3,200 miles of gas lines in its service areas. Most are smaller lines that feed into homes, but there are larger transmission pipelines in use throughout the county.  

14 News located lines in the northern and western parts of the county using the Natural Pipeline Mapping System. Vectren says these larger lines are rarely located around homes and should be considered safe. They're required by law to be inspected every seven years.  

When it comes to safety, the Arvin's say they're aware of what happened in Indianapolis, but aren't worried.

"Don't even think about it really," Jeff said.

If you would like to know if a pipeline runs close to your home, click here for the Natural Pipeline Mapping System.

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