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Report: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania takes blame for gas blast that injured 5


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Report: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania takes blame for gas blast that injured 5

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. assumed responsibility for a natural gas explosion on July 31 that injured five people and damaged a house in Washington County, Pa., CBS Pittsburgh reported Aug. 1, citing President and COO Mike Huwar.

The NiSource Inc. subsidiary said it was working on a project in North Franklin Township, Pa., and the house where the blast occurred slipped through the utility's initial project design and a secondary field survey, as it was located on a different street from the other houses involved in the project, according to the report.

As a result, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania never installed a pressure regulator at the house, and the elevated pressure from the project work resulted in a leak that caused the explosion, the report added.

"Our customers deserve safe, reliable delivery of natural gas," CBS quoted Huwar as saying. "We failed to deliver on this mission, and for that we are deeply sorry."

North Franklin Township officials filed a cease and desist order against Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, preventing the utility from doing any work in the township until further notice, the report said. The officials also demanded compensation for police departments and firefighters, according to the report.

The explosion occurred in the afternoon of July 31, injuring five people, including three firefighters and the homeowner, CBS reported. Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania immediately shut off the gas to 60 customers but later said it has restored service, with a few exceptions, according to CBS.

The utility also said it will review and improve procedures and survey processes to avoid similar incidents in the future, according to the report.