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From time to time, reports surface noting the decrepit state of some infrastructure in the nation. From complaints of pothole-laden roads to undersized or unsafe bridges, calls are made to rebuild these systems before a deadly accident occurs.

DECAYING PIPELINES POSE SERIOUS THREAT

But there is another type of decaying infrastructure that most people never give a second thought to, and that is underground pipelines. The recent crises in Flint, Michigan demonstrated the dangers posed by aging and inappropriately managed water supply. A more recent and deadly incident occurred last week in Silver Spring, Maryland when an apartment building exploded and burned.

Gas Leak Could Have Caused Apartment Disaster

At least six bodies have been recovered, with two individuals still unaccounted for and which injured more than 30. The investigation into the tragic disaster is ongoing, but authorities suggested that a gas leak may have been a contributing factor.

It would not be the first. Gas leaks and accompanying explosion and fires have occurred in cities throughout the East Coast.

Many cities have gas pipes that are more than a century old.

The Silver Spring apartment building was 60 years old and housing inspections had produced numerous violations.

Sometimes the pipes leak, sometimes the meter or other valves or other connections leak. In some cases, residents have reported the problems, which too often are ignored. This type of negligence can create unsafe properties and is potentially more dangerous than dark stairwells, icy sidewalks and inadequate building security.

Landlord Negligence Can Be Catastrophic

With the potential for explosions, fire and the collapse of the building, any incidents involving the potential for gas leaks should be brought to the attention of the gas company, the landlord and the local fire department. As this case tragically shows, the results of this kind of negligence can be catastrophic.

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