Jason Nelson update: Gilbert man burned in natural gas explosion returns home

GILBERT, AZ - After five months, 28 surgeries and two months in a coma, Jason Nelson returned home Friday, according to his longtime girlfriend, Tammy Curtis Yohe.

She wrote on her Facebook page, it has been 146 days since Nelson began treatment for the severe burn wounds he suffered over 80 percent of his body in a natural gas explosion in February. He was working in his Gilbert home when a spark from his lighter ignited a fireball that blew the door off of his garage .

“My love is coming home today!” she wrote on her Facebook page Friday. “I can’t explain how this has pushed our mind, body and spirit to the point we thought we would never come out of despair,” she wrote. “But love and faith and admiration for Jason Nelson made it so I would never give up on him or God!”

The blast that injured Nelson was caused by a natural gas leak from a pipe installed by Southwest Gas.

The ABC15 Investigators have uncovered a decade of issues with the type of pipe that leaked in this case – Driscopipe M8000 – in the desert southwest. But, neither Southwest Gas nor the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which regulates them, believes the pipe needs to be replaced.

There are more than 6,000 miles of Driscopipe M8000 in the Valley and more than 11,000 miles of it across Arizona.

In May, the ABC15 Investigators found 16 more leaks detected by the ACC in this kind of pipe and at least 3 dozen incidents in which it has shown signs of degradation that has not resulted in leaks.

Southwest Gas told ABC15 it has stepped up inspections of the pipe, checking all of it at least once a year for signs of degradation.

Federal regulations only require inspections every five years. 

The ACC investigated this case and found that Southwest Gas had no fault in the incident.

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