Southwest Gas likely will not be fined for gas explosion that burned Gilbert man

Southwest Gas Corp. will likely not be fined as a result of a natural gas explosion in February, according to a report by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

The blast left a Gilbert man burned over 80 percent of his body.

The ACC, which regulates natural gas providers, found Southwest Gas followed all regulations in maintaining and inspecting the pipes, according to Robert Miller, Director of the Pipeline Safety Division.

The Commission determined Southwest Gas was not at fault for the incident.

On Feb. 9, 2014, Jason Nelson, 39, lit a cigarette inside the garage of his home and the spark set off an explosion of natural gas that had pooled up inside.

The ACC’s initial report found the gas had escaped from two service stubs that cracked. The report determined the probable cause to be “the failure of the service stubs due to possible material degradation.”

The final findings about what exactly caused the cracks are still pending, according to Miller.

Miller told the ABC15 Investigators samples of the actual pipes that leaked are still at a lab being tested to determine exactly what happened. He said, if the cause was degradation of the pipe, the ACC wants to know what contributed to that degradation to prevent future accidents.

 The ACC says Southwest had conducted the required inspections on the pipe that leaked. It had most recently been inspected in 2011, Miller said.

Jason Nelson has been at the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center for months. He’s gone through 21 surgeries and has been in-and-out of induced comas.

His girlfriend of three years, Tammy Curtis Yohe, has been by his side every day.

She told the ABC15 Investigators Nelson is a fighter and that he has come far, considering what he’s been through.

His family and friends are holding a fundraiser on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Harvey American Public House in Gilbert from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Part of all the food and drink sold at that time will be donated to Jason to help pay for his extensive bills.

If you can’t make it out, you can also donate here.

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