Yes there was a great deal of excitement when a good portion of the Woodman Ave block exploded in London, Ontario on August 15, 2019. The story made national headlines for several days. But what changes did it bring?
We know the incident started when an impaired driver rode the wrong way on a one-way road (Queens Ave) and struck the side of a residence at the location of a gas metre next to the driveway. It should have been a simple lesson to learn that locating gas metres next to a driveway is not a good idea for obvious reasons. And if that driveway is at the dead end of a street it is more liable to be struck simply because some driver could mistakenly miss the fact that the street was coming to an end – it has happened numerous times before in every city or rural location.
And if a driveway is narrow and it also contains a gas metre then surely this should be an even greater warning sign. It would seem that a reasonable approach would be to check various residences in a city like London Ontario to assess how many might have gas metres that are vulnerable to such repeated disasters. But were changes ever contemplated? Did anyone ever question whether it would be a good idea to conduct such a survey? Apparently not. Because another incident, almost on the anniversary of the massive explosion, occurred again, almost in the same circumstances, except luckily there was no explosion.
News media in London have reported that, on August 14, 2020, a pick-up truck struck a residence resulting in the impact of a gas metre on Grey Street in south central London. A frame from video of the incident is shown below.
One of the interesting observations from the frame above is that there is little damage visible to the home although the striking pick-up truck is at a somewhat unusual angle. This does not appear to be a massive impact to the house. Rather it looks something like a mistake that a driver made by bringing the truck too close to the house in the narrow driveway. We know the driveway is very narrow because we can look at it from views shown in Google Maps, an example shown below.
So, as a City representative, why would you allow the location of a gas metre within the very narrow confines of this driveway? Did anyone learn anything from the massive explosion that occurred in the City just a year earlier? Evidently not.
It is matters like these that show how we do not make corrections to dangerous conditions even though they have resulted in disastrous incidents and even though those incidents have been greatly publicized.