Palm Springs, CA- Improper construction techniques during a remodel allowed a Palm Springs home to fill with natural gas, and a water heaters pilot light likely caused an explosion that blew out the homes windows Monday, fire and utility officials said.
Firefighters were called to the explosion in the 1400 block of South Calle Marcus just after noon Monday, according to the Palm Springs Fire Department.
Crews checked to make sure there was no lingering natural gas in the home and found that no one was inside because the owners were out of state.
The explosion caused about $100,000 in damage to the home and its contents, the fire department said.
A spokesman for Southern California Gas Co. said the explosion could have been avoided if the homeowners had taken advantage of the companys standing offer to turn gas meters on or off and conduct a safety check all at no cost.
I believe what happened out there, we wouldve caught, said Robert Visconti, a public affairs manager for the utility.
Visconti said it appears a contractor left a gas line open, which allowed gas to fill the home once the meter was switched on.
Basically, they released the gas into the lines before making sure all the lines were closed, he said.
Before gas company officials turn on a meter thats been shut off, they turn off all appliances, Visconti said. That way, when the gas service is restarted, any movement in the meter provides an easy indication that somethings amiss.
That test wouldve caught this problem easily, Visconti said.
He encouraged customers who need to shut off gas meters for construction or who have had their gas switched off for the summer to call the gas company a few days ahead of time so that workers can visit a home to turn the meter on or off.