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NJ lawmakers seek explosive-gas detectors in all homes

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: A trio of state lawmakers today said they’ve drafted a bill requiring that explosive-gas sensors be installed in residences to help detect dangerous levels of methane or propane.

State Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin said they’re responding to two recent gas explosions that leveled two New Jersey homes.

“While the use of natural gas and propane for heating and cooking in our homes is extremely safe, the recent house explosions in Pt. Pleasant Beach and Stafford Township have reminded us that gas leaks do pose some risk,” Holzapfel said. “We can lower the risk of gas leaks by modeling our response on the successful rollout of carbon monoxide detectors that are now present in nearly every home.”

An unoccupied home in Stafford Township exploded on February 24 due to a leak from a natural gas main into the home’s basement. Less than a week later, a gas leak caused a home in Point Pleasant Beach to explode, severely burning the occupant. Both homes were destroyed.

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The legislation allows for the use of a single device that can detect both carbon monoxide and explosive gases. The units ordinarly cost about $40.

It would also require that one- and two-family homes to be inspected for the presence of an explosive gas sensor prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy — this way there would be no need to install a gas detector if it has been determined that no potential explosive gas risk exists.

Similarly, every unit in a hotel or multiple dwelling would be required to have explosive gas detectors installed.

“The cost of installing explosive gas detectors is negligible, but the benefit is substantial,” McGuckin added. “Their widespread use will help to warn residents and allow for gas leaks to be fixed before people are hurt and property damaged.”

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