Gas explosion

A gas explosion is an accident resulting from ignition of a mixture of air and flammable gas, typically from a gas leak.[1] In household accidents, the principal explosive gases are those used for heating or cooking purposes such as natural gas, methane, propane, butane. In industrial explosions many other gases, like hydrogen, as well as evaporated (gaseous) gasoline or ethanol play an important role. Industrial gas explosions can be prevented with the use of intrinsic safety barriers to prevent ignition.

Lower and upper explosive limits

Whether a mixture of air and gas is combustible depends on the air-to-fuel ratio. For each fuel, ignition occurs only within a certain range of concentration, known as the upper and lower flammability limits. For example, for methane and gasoline vapor, this range is 5-15% and 1.4-7.6% gas to air, respectively. An explosion can only occur when fuel concentration is within these limits.

List of gas explosions

The damaged roads after gas explosions in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on 31 July 2014.


  • Australian federal MP George Edwards and a gas mechanic were killed on February 4, 1911, when a gasometer exploded on Edwards' property in Turramurra, New South Wales.[2][3]
  • The Pittsburgh gasometer explosion occurred during the morning of November 14, 1927 in the north side of Pittsburgh. A large gasometer exploded, killing 28 people and injuring hundreds.
  • The Mather Mine disaster occurred on May 19, 1928 in Mather, Pennsylvania. A methane gas and dust explosion resulted in the deaths of 195 men.[4][5]
  • The New London School explosion occurred on March 18, 1937, when a natural gas leak caused an explosion, destroying the New London School of the city of New London, Texas. The disaster killed three hundred students and teachers.
  • The Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion occurred on the afternoon of Friday, October 20, 1944. The resulting gas leak, explosion and fires killed 130 people and destroyed a one-square-mile area on Cleveland, Ohio’s east side.


  • On October 31, 1963 Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum gas explosion (later known as the Pepsi Coliseum) occurred during the opening night for the Holiday on Ice show, killing 81 and injuring nearly 400.[6] The cause was an explosion following a propane tank leak.[7]
  • LaSalle Heights Disaster March 1, 1965. Gas line fractured in a low-cost residential neighborhood near Montreal, Quebec, killing 28 people and injuring 39.
  • Reading, Pennsylvania, January 9, 1968. An explosion killed nine persons and demolished two houses. A gas company spokesman said Reading workmen digging in the street to repair a water main had hit a gas line shortly before the explosion.[8]
  • The Richmond, Indiana explosion, on Saturday, April 6, 1968. Two explosions occur in mid-afternoon, in the middle of downtown Richmond, Indiana. The first is caused by a natural gas leak, and the second, by gunpowder and ammunition inside a sporting goods store. 41 people are killed and more than 150 injured. Four square blocks of downtown Richmond, Indiana, are heavily damaged by the explosion or subsequent fire.
  • Ronan Point was a 23-story council tower block in Newham, east London. On 16 May 1968 a gas explosion caused the collapse of a whole corner of the building. Four people were killed in the collapse, with one dying later of injuries.
  • On April 8, 1970, a gas explosion that occurred during construction in Tenjimbashisuji Rokuchōme Station, Osaka Municipal Subway Tanimachi Line, Kita-ku, (formerly Oyodo district) Osaka, Japan, resulted in 79 persons dead, 420 persons injured and 495 houses and buildings burned and destroyed.[9]
  • Clarkston explosion on 21 October 1971; a build-up of gas under a shopping centre left 22 dead and around 100 injured.
  • 23 October 1980, a propane explosion at Escuela Nacional de Marcelino Ugalde (Marcelino Ugalde Primary School), Ortuella, Vizcaya, Spain. According to the local government's official report, 50 schoolchildren and 3 adult were killed and an additional 128 persons injured.[10]
  • 23 May 1984 Abbeystead disaster - an explosion resulting in 16 deaths and 22 injured from Methane entering waterwork pipes.
  • 24 March 1986 Loscoe gas explosion - no fatalities but extensive property destruction, this caused the UK Government to legislate on landfill sites and building practices with regard to landfill gas migration.
  • In July 1988, 167 people died when Occidental Petroleum's Alpha offshore production platform, on the Piper field in the North Sea, exploded after a gas leak.
  • 25 May 1989 - Following the San Bernardino train disaster which had claimed the lives of four people and demolished several houses, a section of the Calnev Pipeline ruptured and exploded after it was damaged by construction equipment clearing the crash site, killing an additional two people and destroying eleven more houses.
  • The 1989 Ufa train disaster was caused by a gas explosion from a leaking pipeline as two trains went by, their sparks igniting the gas. 575 people died.
  • The 1992 explosion in Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, took place on April 22, 1992 in the downtown district of Analco. Numerous gasoline explosions in the sewer system over four hours destroyed kilometers of streets. Officially, 206 people were killed, nearly 500 injured and 15,000 were left homeless.
  • 1995 Daegu gas explosions, April 28, 1995, at a subway construction site in Sangin-dong, Daegu, South Korea, killing 101 people and injuring 202. A spark from construction equipment ignited gas from a damaged pipe.[11]
  • The Humberto Vidal Explosion (sometimes also referred to as the Río Piedras Explosion) was a gas explosion that occurred on November 21, 1996, on the Humberto Vidal shoe store located in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, United States. The explosion killed 33 and wounded 69 others when the building collapsed. It is considered one of the deadliest disasters to have occurred on the island.
  • On September 11, 1998, in Bucheon, South Korea, an LPG filling station for propane and butane caught fire, causing a massive fire and several very large explosions.[12] Two storage tanks and several vehicles were destroyed, killing 1 person and injuring 83.
  • On December 11, 1998, there was a gas explosion in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which killed four people.
  • In December 1999, there was a natural gas explosion which completely destroyed one house and severely damaged four other houses in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire. It killed the family of four that lived in the house that exploded. Transco Gas who are responsible for maintaining the Gas Network were fined £15 million as the cause was found to be a severely corroded gas main directly outside the house.


  • August 19, 2000, a natural gas transmission pipeline ruptured and a fire killed 12 campers near Carlsbad, New Mexico.[13]
  • On January 17, 2001, natural gas stored underground in Hutchinson, Kansas, leaked into empty brine caverns. Two explosions resulted from the leak. One destroyed two businesses and damaged 26 others. Another destroyed a trailer park killing two people. Sinkholes and gas leaks formed all around the city and the gas had to be slowly burned off.[14]
  • On March 16, 2004, a gas explosion in an apartment building in Arkhangelsk, Russia, killed 58 people. Reportedly, a former gas technician caused the explosion due to a dispute with his former employers.
  • On May 11, 2004, the Stockline Plastics Factory in the Maryhill area of Glasgow was destroyed by a gas explosion. The cause was found by a Health and Safety Executive report to be the ignition of gas from a ruptured pipe. Nine people were killed and 37 were injured, 15 seriously.
  • On July 30, 2004, the a natural gas pipeline exploded in Ghislenghien, Belgium. The leak was a result of the damage from a previous construction work. The explosion and fire killed 24 people and injured 132.
  • The 2009 Viareggio train derailment, in Versilia, Italy, killed 33 people with the explosion of LPG that was contained in one of the train cars.


  • September 9, 2010: In San Bruno, California, a suburb of San Francisco, a gas leak and explosion killed eight people. 53 homes were burned down and over 120 homes were damaged.
  • On February 10, 2011 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a gas explosion killed 5 people and levels a city block.[15]
  • On February 5, 2012 in the state of Washington, Josh Powell killed himself and two sons in a gas explosion at their home.[16]
  • August 14, 2012, Brentwood, New York (Suffolk County, New York; Long Island): A suspected gas explosion levels a house, killing a toddler and wounding up to 17 others.[17]
  • August 29, 2012, New Milford, Connecticut: An online Associated Press August 29 news article from the Boston Herald stated that, according to the Danbury News-Times, a propane leak explosion killed one man (a friend of the family who lived in the home who was a plumber and had come over to assist), and severely injured the homeowner and the older child of the deceased friend.
  • Richmond Hill explosion: a natural gas explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of southern Indianapolis took place on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Two people were killed and about 20 people were injured. The blast caused $4.4 million in damage and 33 homes were damaged severely enough that they needed to be demolished. The explosion was large enough that it registered on IUPUI seismic detectors and was felt for miles. Four people, including the home owner, were charged with felony murder. Prosecutors allege they intentionally caused the explosion for insurance money.[18]
  • On November 23, 2012, in Springfield, Massachusetts, a natural gas explosion destroyed two buildings, including one housing a strip club, damaging a total of 42 buildings. Firefighters, police officers and gas company workers were in the area because of an earlier gas leak. The explosion injured a total of 21 people, including 12 of the firefighters that responded to the gas leak. Astonishingly, there were no deaths relating to the explosion.[19]
  • The 2013 Rosario gas explosion in Argentina on 6 August 2013 left 21 dead.[20]
  • On March 12, 2014, the East Harlem apartment explosion occurred within two buildings in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City. Eight people were killed and more than 70 were injured.[21]
  • On July 31, 2014, the Kaohsiung gas explosions occurred due to gas leak on the gas pipeline beneath the public roads in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.[22]
  • 2015 East Village gas explosion: an illegal tap into a gas main triggered an explosion and fire that killed two, injured nineteen and destroyed three buildings.[23]
  • On September 15, 2015, in Pennsville, New Jersey, a main gas line explosion and subsequent fast-moving fire destroyed a modified house building, with a second-story apartment. The building was used as the Law Offices of John Jordan. Kline Construction, a South Jersey Gas Company contractor, was performing work in the area as part of a gas main and renewal project. South Jersey Gas is a natural gas company that serves Salem County, New Jersey, and also has offices in Atlantic County, New Jersey, and Gloucester County, New Jersey. Workers from Kline punctured a gas main nearby causing a gas leak into the basement of the building. As the building's heat source was natural gas, there was a heater with a pilot light in the basement. As the gas built up, the heater's pilot light became the ignition source of the explosion. A year later the company was fined US$300,000 by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities after their investigation found multiple safety violations. No one was injured in the blast or fire. However, the neighboring homes suffered smoke and structural damage as a result.[24][25]
  • On 3 June 2016, there was a gas explosion in the Dutch city of Urk. Three houses were completely destroyed, and three people were wounded.[26]
  • On July 3, 2016, a natural gas explosion occurred in the city of Melvindale, Michigan when a car crashed through a fence at and hit a large natural gas line. Two buildings in the facility's complex caught fire as a result of the explosion - but no injuries were reported at the facility.
  • On September 27, 2016 a gas explosion in the Bronx, New York, took the life of a FDNY Chief in the line of duty. After the gas explosion a suspected illegal drug lab was found. Whistleblower NYC Gas Explosions-2009 Floral Park gas explosion and 2014 East Harlem gas explosion provided additional information to authorities regarding this explosion.
  • On August 10, 2016, a gas explosion occurred at an apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland. The explosion killed 7 and injured more than 40 people.[27]
  • 2016 Portland gas explosion – On October 2, 2016, a series of gas explosions occurred in Portland, Oregon from a construction accident caused by Loy Clark Pipelines who was installing a vault in the sidewalk for Comcast for a new building being built for Portland based Bremik Construction. Eight people were injured, one pet cat had gone missing, one building totally leveled and $17.2 million (USD) in damage was done to nearby buildings.
  • On July 2, 2017, a gas leak at a home in Manor Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, caused the death of a gas company employee. Three other people were injured.[28]
  • On July 10, 2018, a miscommunication between contractors boring a hole for fiber optic cables led to a gas leak and subsequent explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. One person was killed, eleven were injured[29] and half of a city block was destroyed.[30]
  • On September 13, 2018, in the Massachusetts gas explosions, a set of 60 to 100 fires and explosions caused by natural gas occurred in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts. Much of the area was evacuated, one person was killed and several injured.[31]
  • On October 9, 2018, a natural gas pipeline near Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, exploded in a remote location. No one was killed or injured as a direct result of the explosion.[32]
  • 2019 Paris explosion – on January 12, 2019, in central Paris, a gas explosion in a house with in a bakery killed 4 and injured about 40.[33]
  • On January 18, 2019, in the Tlahuelilpan pipeline explosion, an illicitly tapped fuel pipeline exploded in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico, killing at least 66 people and wounding 76 others. It is believed the explosion occurred after the line was ruptured by suspected fuel thieves.[34]
  • On April 10, 2019, a gas explosion occurred in downtown Durham, North Carolina.[35] Two people were killed and 25 were injured.
  • On May 19, 2019 a gas explosion occurred at a house in Jeffersonville, Indiana, killing one and injuring two others.[36]
  • On July 6, 2019, around 20 people were injured, two seriously, by an apparent gas explosion at The Fountains shopping plaza in Plantation, Florida, which caused extensive damage to it and surrounding buildings.[37]
  • On July 19, 2019 a gas explosion destroyed a house in Christchurch, New Zealand, and damaged surrounding houses. 6 people were injured.[38]
  • On August 10, 2019, a gas tanker in Morogoro, Tanzania exploded, killing 75 and injuring at least 55.[39]
  • On December 6, 2019, a gas explosion occurred in block of flats in Prešov, Slovakia, pressure wave damaged windows of surrounding buildings. 7 people were killed, and at least 40 people were injured.[40]


Aftermath of the 2020 gas explosion in Rua de Santa Marta, Lisbon
  • On July 30, 2020 a gas explosion destroyed a shabu-shabu restaurant in Kōriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, killing one man and injuring 19.[41]
  • On August 10, 2020 a gas explosion occurred in Baltimore, Maryland, killing 1 woman and critically injuring two others. At least 5 others were trapped under the rubble of three rowhouses which collapsed in the blast.[42]
  • On December 20, 2020 a gas explosion destroyed a four-storey building opposite Saint Martha's Hospital in Lisbon, killing two men and injuring five people.[43]
  • On February 3, 2021 a gas explosion damaged a home in Springfield, Virginia and injured three people.[44]
  • On February 17, 2021 a gas explosion demolished a house in Manchester, England. 1 person lost their life and 2 others were injured.
  • On May 4, 2021 a gas explosion demolished a house in Willesborough, England. 7 people were injured, with two currently in critical condition.[45]
  • On May 16, 2021 at 2:30 A gas explosion near Heysham, Lancashire, demolished 2 houses and severely damaged 1, a child died and 4 adults were injured in result.[46]
  • On March 16, 2022 a gas explosion destroyed a 8-storey building in Casal de São Brás, Amadora in Lisbon, injuring fifteen people.[47]
  • On May 6, 2022 the 2022 Madrid explosion kills two people and injures eighteen in Madrid, Spain.
  • On May 6, 2022 the Hotel Saratoga explosion kills 45 people and injures 97 others in Havana, Cuba. The explosion originated from a leak in a gas tanker that was parked outside the hotel.
  • On June 26th, 2022 a house in Birmingham was destroyed and several other cars and homes were damaged. A woman died and a man was left injured. The listing for the home stated that the boiler required repair.[48]
  • On August 8, 2022, a house on Galpin Road in the south London suburb of Thornton Heath was completely destroyed at around 7 a.m. A four-year-old girl died as a result of injuries, and several others had various injuries. Neighbours had reported smelling gas weeks before the explosion, and the family living in the house itself had been in touch with the gas company. On the morning of August 8, just before the explosion, neighbours said that the gas smell was particularly strong.
  • On December 24, 2022 in Boksburg, a town on the East Rand of Greater Johannesburg, a gas tanker carrying LPG exploded after catching fire when it got stuck under a bridge about 100 metres from the hospital (Tambo Memorial Hospital)[49]

See also


  1. "How To Prevent Cooking Gas Explosions At Home". CorrectNG. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  2. "Tragic explosion". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 February 1911.
  3. "The gas explosion". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 February 1911.
  4. "Final Report On Mather Mine Explosion Pickands-Mather and Company Mather, Pennsylvania May 19, 1928" (PDF). United States Bureau of Mines. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  5. Humphrey, H. B. (1960). "Historical Summary of Coal-Mine Explosions in the United States, 1810-1958". UNT Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  6. Drabek, Thomas (1995-05-18). "Disaster in Aisle 13 Revisited". Archived from the original on 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  7. "1963 Coliseum explosion killed 74". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  8. "Explosion Kills 9 in 2 Families" (PDF). The Knickerbocker News. 10 January 1968.
  9. "Case Details:Gas Explosion at a Subway Construction Site". Archived from the original on 2018-06-02. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  10. es:Ortuella#accidente de 1980 (Spanish language) Retrieved date on February 14, 2016.
  11. "South Korea Gas Explosion Kills 83, Injures Up to 181: Asia: Leak is reportedly ignited by a spark from construction site. Many of the victims were students". Los Angeles Times. AP. April 28, 1995.
  12. de:Gasunfall in Bucheon
  13. "Corrosion Failures: El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion". Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  14. "Hutchinson Gas Explosions" (PDF). Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas.
  15. Seelye, Katherine (10 February 2011). "Blast Kills 5 in Pennsylvania". NY Times.
  16. "Official: Missing woman's husband blows up house to kill himself, 2 sons". CNN. 6 February 2012.
  17. "Explosion at Long Island home kills 18-month-old boy, injures at least 17 and demolishes house - NY Daily News". 17 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  18. Rinehart, Jack; Monet, Ebone (12 November 2012). "36 homes critically damaged in explosion in south side neighborhood". The Indy Channel. No. Online Article. Archived from the original (News article and video) on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014. Thirty-six homes sustained critical damage in an explosion that killed two people on Indianapolis' south side, inspectors said. The explosion happened Saturday night at a home at 8349 Fieldfare Way in the Richmond Hill subdivision near Sherman Drive between County Line and Stop 11 roads.
  19. Berry, Connor (2012-11-25). "Springfield explosion cause: 'Human error,' Massachusetts fire marshal says". The Republican. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  20. José Bordón (August 13, 2013). "Hallan tres cuerpos más y asciende a 21 el número de víctimas en Rosario" [Three more bodies are found, and the bodycount in Rosario rises to 21] (in Spanish). La Nación. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  21. "8th body found in ruins of East Harlem buildings". USA Today. 13 March 2014.
  22. "Multipul gas explosions rock Kaohsiung streets - the China Post". Archived from the original on 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  23. Santora, Marc; Baker, Al (March 26, 2015). "East Village Explosion Ignites Fire, Fells Buildings and Injures at Least 19". The New York Times.
  24. "N.J. fire caused by natural gas explosion, police confirm". 2015-09-15. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  25. "Gas company fined $300K for violations that caused N.J. home explosion". November 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  26. "Gewonden door gasexplosie Urk". Telegraaf. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  27. "Natural Gas Explosion Caused Apt. Blast; 3 Victims IDed". NBC4 Washington. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  28. Knapp, Tom. "'It's really gone': Homeowner says she's in shock after gas explosion destroys her home in Manor Township". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  29. "Firefighter killed in gas explosion, fire near Madison". Associated Press. 21 April 2021.
  30. "Plan for Sun Prairie explosion site envisions housing, entertainment, hotel".
  31. Betancourt, Sarah (14 September 2018). "One dead in Massachusetts after gas explosions ignite dozens of fires". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2019 via
  32. Government of Canada, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (2020-03-04). "Pipeline Transportation Safety Investigation Report P18H0088". Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  33. Offenbar Gasleck: Tote und Verletzte nach Explosion in Paris (German)
  34. "Mexico pipeline blast kills 66 and injures dozens more". BBC News. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  35. "Coffee Shop Owner Killed, 17 Others Injured in Downtown Durham Gas Explosion". WUNC. 10 April 2019.
  36. "A house in Indiana exploded, killing one person". CNN. 19 May 2019.
  37. "Plantation explosion: Injuries reported at Florida shopping complex". BBC News. 6 July 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  38. "House destroyed, six seriously hurt in massive explosion at Christchurch house". 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  39. Mwanza, Farajl; Kottasova, Ivana (11 August 2019). "At least 61 people killed in a fuel tanker explosion in Tanzania". CNN.
  40. "Slovakia: 7 die in gas explosion, dozens injured". DW. 6 December 2019.
  41. "(Update 3) 1 Killed, 19 Injured in Fukushima Restaurant Blast". Jiji Press. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  42. "1 Dead, 2 Seriously Injured: Major explosion in Baltimore with victims trapped". Fox Baltimore. 10 August 2020.
  43. "Prédio desaba em Lisboa após explosão. Encontrado morto músico que estava desaparecido". Observador (in Portuguese). 20 December 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  44. "Multiple people hurt in Fairfax County gas leak explosion". 3 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  45. "Seven hurt in Willesborough house explosion". 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  46. "Heysham explosion: Child dies and four adults injured in Lancashire blast". BBC News. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  47. "Um bombeiro ferido com gravidade em explosão de gás na Amadora. Há 15 desalojados". Observador (in Portuguese). 16 March 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  48. "Woman found dead after house destroyed in Birmingham gas explosion". 2022-06-27. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  49. "Boksburg explosion: Driver warned people to stay away from truck fire before blast killed 15 people". News24.
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