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Gas Line Inspections Urged Because Of Lightning Damage Threat

© Leesburg Today - 08/28/2015

After a house fire near Waterford last week the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office is urging residents with corrugated stainless steel tubing gas lines to have the equipment inspected.

CSST lines are susceptible to damage from lightning if not properly grounded.

That was determined to be the cause of an Aug. 20 fire on Stumptown Road. The homeowner was alerted to the trouble by smoke alarms. Fire department units from Hamilton, Lucketts, Purcellville, Leesburg, Ashburn, and Round Hill responded to the scene. Although there was no fire visible from the outside of the home, firefighters discovered a haze in the basement and then a fire in the basement ceiling. Crews extinguished the fire, which resulted in an estimated $10,000 in damage.

According to the fire marshal's office, there has been an increase in fires caused by lightning strikes near these particular kinds of gas lines.

Introduced in 1990, CSST is used to deliver natural gas and propane to residential and commercial structures. If CSST is not bonded and grounded properly, the wall of the tubing is at risk for failure when exposed to an electrical current. Merely having a tank underground is not sufficient grounding. Once the CSST becomes punctured by an electrical current, the gas can escape, posing a fire hazard.

Homeowners are encouraged to have a licensed electrician inspect any tubing designed to transmit gas inside a home to ensure that it is properly bonded and grounded. The concern is not improper installation of the equipment, rather an issue with the tubing itself, according to the fire marshal's office.

CSST manufacturers have created a website to address any questions about the issue at http://www.csstsafety.com.

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