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Investigators say the Ohio explosion was caused by a gas line that was cut, despite being believed to have been turned off

A black plume (Via Tom Wilson/Shutterstock)

The National Transportation Safety Board stated on Friday that a crew working in an Ohio building’s basement accidentally cut a pressurized gas line before a fatal explosion earlier this week.

NTSB board member Tom Chapman explained that the crew was clearing out old pipes and infrastructure from the basement and vault area, which extends under the sidewalk next to the building. This was in preparation for a city project to fill in the area and replace sidewalks.

Five workers and a supervisor were on site that day, with four present during the incident, Chapman noted.

“The gas line in question was an abandoned service line connected to the main line, running parallel to the street,” Chapman said.

Fire officials investigates the scenes of a collapsed house (Via Austin Lister/Shutterstock)

He mentioned that the workers did not detect any gas odor before cutting the pipe. They realized there was an issue after making the third cut, prompting them to pull the fire alarm and evacuate residents and bank employees. The explosion occurred six minutes later, which Chapman emphasized was likely accidental.

Investigators are now tasked with determining why the gas pipe was pressurized and for how long.

Chapman added that the investigation will proceed cautiously, awaiting clearance to enter the building for further examination. Security footage from inside the bank and other videos have been obtained to aid in the investigation.

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