AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Saturday’s explosion shook homes and businesses several miles away. There were multiple reports of people smelling gas before it happened. On Monday, it was confirmed the cause of the explosion was a natural gas leak.
WHSV News spoke with fire officials to find the best ways to stay safe when encountering any type of gas.
Dave Nichols is the fire rescue chief of Augusta County Fire Rescue. He said that if you ever smell gas inside, you should immediately evacuate and call 911.
“Evacuate the structure or the area. You would not want to turn anything on or turn anything off because an arc and switch could be the spark that ignites the fire,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that natural gas does not have an odor, but one is added to the gas we use in our homes to allow the human nose to detect its presence.
“You’ll notice the odor before it ever reaches a point to where it would ignite,” Nichols explained.
Nichols said the average person will smell the gas when it is less than 10 percent of the lower explosive limit.
“Typically with natural gas, if you are outside, you may smell it, but oftentimes because it is lighter than air, it will rise and dissipate. But when you are in a structure it will basically be trapped inside that structure,” said the fire rescue chief.
If you ever must evacuate a structure after smelling gas, make sure to go the opposite direction the wind is blowing. Depending on the type of gas, the wind will carry the gas one way and you want to go the other.
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