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Why natural gas outlet explosions happen and how to prevent them

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Posted at 7:13 PM, Aug 25, 2023

Eight Santa Maria homes are now red-tagged after Wednesday’s natural gas explosion on Jackie Lane.

One home was completely destroyed and more than two dozen others were damaged.

“We see approximately an explosion every two days in the U.S. and so what we want to do is make sure Americans know that there is a way to prevent natural gas explosions and the solution is natural gas alarms,” Julie Harris, Spokeswoman for DeNova Detect said.

DeNova Detect sells natural gas alarms for homes. Harris recommends installing a gas alarm in every room in the house where a natural gas appliance exists, she said sometimes gas leaks are out of our control.

“Essentially we’re using our grandparents' piping so it’s antiquated piping that we haven’t replaced yet so we’re seeing a lot of gas leaks across the U.S.,” Harris said.

When a gas leak happens, an alarm can warn you to get out of the house.

“Natural gas explosions like these can be completely preventable through the help of natural gas alarms to detect them sooner so you can escape faster and save lives,” Harris said.

Gas leaks happen for a variety of reasons. Fire Captain Marcus Dunlap says an explosion happens when gas is ignited.

“The fuel inside the house gets to where it’s ignitable and if it finds an ignition source, it can be a pilot light, or if you turn a switch on or off there can be a small arch with a switch that will ignite the fuel,” Dunlap said.

To prevent an explosion you must familiarize yourself with what you can be doing at home.

“Knowing how to shut the gas off to their home and having an evacuation plan in place,” Dunlap said.

“Make sure that they have working smoke detectors and working carbon monoxide detectors and if their appliances are in good working order,” Dunlap said.

For more information on where to get a gas alarm, you can visit or reach out to your gas company if you have any more questions.