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An article in Scientific American about gas explosions, published last year, is probably more relevant today than it was then. That’s because much of our “aging” gas pipeline infrastructure needs serious attention and maintenance – and we continue to risk injuries and deaths as long as that’s so.

Writer Larry Greenemeier, in his headline, wonders how cities can protect themselves, and reports that leaks and explosions in the U.S. cause an average of 17 deaths, 68 injuries, and $133 million in property damage every year.

On Monday afternoon, in fact, a gas line exploded in Winfield, WV, sending one man to the hospital with burn injuries. Work crews were apparently digging with an excavator when they hit the line. Though the likely cause was the excavator when it hit the line, rather than a problem with the line itself, this man is now one of the average 68 who suffer injuries every year in gas explosions.

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