Stainless Steel Flexible Gas Lines
Stainless Steel Flexible Gas Line, Lightning-Related Fires And Gas Leaks Lawsuits
Stainless Steel Flexible Gas Lines | Lawsuit, Lawyer, Attorney, Class Action Lawsuit | Lightning-Related Fires And Gas Leaks, CSST, Corrugated stainless steel tubing coated with plastic
Flexible gas lines constructed of plastic-coated, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) may be the culprit in some lightning-related fires and gas leaks in at least one dozen states, raising concerns about CSST use for gas lines.
Developed in Japan to protect against breaks resulting from earthquakes, CSST was introduced domestically more than two decades ago to replace the much less flexible, traditional gas piping. Having become increasingly common in new homes, hundreds of millions of CSST lines have been installed in the United States at a significantly higher cost than black metal piping.
Fire officials and researchers are trying to determine if faulty CSST, incorrect installation, or some other issue is to blame for the fires. Some fire officials believe electrical charges from lightning storms move through the CSST, puncturing the tubing, which leads to gas leaks and fires. The National Fire Protection Association’s research foundation—a group that implements national construction codes—is also looking into how to minimize CSST’s lightening-related risks and has been speaking with manufacturers and insurers on the matter.
Stainless Steel Flexible Gas Line Lawsuits Pending
Meanwhile, dozens of lawsuits are pending involving CSST pipe, blaming the flexible stainless steel gas lines for blazes ignited by lightning hits.
One class-action lawsuit filed in Arkansas against several manufacturers alleged that CSST posed an unreasonable risk of fire from lightning strikes. At least one report stated that, according to the agreement, a 2006 settlement worth about $29 million resolved the matter. In another case, a wrongful death lawsuit alleged that CSST failure led to a 2008 fire that left three children and their grandmother dead in South Dakota.
Four homes caught fire in central Ohio during a half-day storm this summer and the fire chief there said he believes a combination of lightning and CSST were to blame for the blazes. Lightning struck at or near the homes and, before the charge moved to a less resistant, nearby pathway, such as a metal ventilation duct, an electrical charge passed along the CSST, puncturing a small hole and creating an ignitable gas leak.
Not unexpectedly, some manufacturers say there may be other factors, including faulty installation, to blame. For instance, gas lines that are not correctly grounded and bonded so that the CSST is linked to a system that pushes energy from a lightning strike down into the earth are being blamed. But, at least one Iowan fire marshal reports that an insurance contact there has blamed CSST for over 200 fires. Also, the fire marshal noted that he does not believe appropriate grounding and bonding solves the problem and said he has seen problems with properly bonded systems.
Firefighters and gas providers say these blazes tend to occur when a specific set of criteria are in place: A newer building constructed with CSST, lightning striking in a location suited to create a CSST puncture, the CSST becoming punctured, and the spark that then ignites the gas. Some involved believe that other fires might have occurred that have not yet been linked to CSST because fire reports did not mention the tubing.
Meanwhile, at least one manufacturer, Omega Flex Inc., has begun selling CSST wrapped in a special covering that makes the tubing more resistant to lightning strikes and, in Indiana, new home bonding and grounding code requirements have been broadened.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Stainless Steel Flexible Gas Lines
If you or a loved one suffered damages due to flexible stainless steel gas lines, contact Parker Waichman LLP today for a free case consultation. Please complete a case evaluation inquiry on this webpage, or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) to speak with an attorney today.