Corroded pipe led to gas explosion which destroyed house, report finds

·3-min read
The explosion left one property completely destroyed (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
The explosion left one property completely destroyed (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

A corroded gas pipe was the main cause of an explosion which left a family of four in hospital, a report has confirmed.

The blast completely destroyed one home in Gorse Park, Kincaidston, Ayr, on October 18 last year.

A gas main serving number three Gorse Park was found to have holes in it when inspected by Steven Critchlow from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

In a report, which was obtained by the BBC following a freedom of information request and released to the PA news agency, Mr Critchlow outlined how he found three separate holes which resulted in leaks in the pipe serving the property.

It ultimately led to a natural gas explosion at number three.

Mr Critchlow said in the report: “The only viable source of natural gas was from the service pipe serving number three. In my opinion all other sources have been ruled out. Gas from at least one of the three leaks on this service pipe was able to pass to within the confines of number three and accumulate.

“The two leak sites closest to the house would have been entirely covered by the concrete of the front porch, and hence gas would have passed sideways though the ground.”

The report also states it was “not possible” to identify an ignition source, given the extent of the damage to the property.

There was, however, an absence of heat damage on the ground floor, which led Mr Critchlow to suggest gas was accumulating at higher levels and may have been able to pass up the cavity wall.

Following the explosion, a 43-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man and two boys aged 16 and 11 were taken to hospital.

Several other homes were badly damaged and some had to be demolished.

Last month, the HSE said it would take “no further action” over the blast.

The pipes had been laid in the 1970s by Scottish Gas Networks (SGN).

Following the incident, it upgraded the gas supply pipes in the area.

An HSE spokesperson said: “The investigation into the Gorse Park explosion has concluded. HSE recognises that this incident caused significant disruption and concern to the residents of Kincaidston. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident. There were a number of lines of inquiry pursued which is not uncommon for an incident of this magnitude and complexity.

“We investigated this incident fully and notified the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of the outcome of the investigation. HSE concluded that there was no evidence to indicate that, on the balance of probabilities, SGN failed to do all that it reasonably should have done to prevent the explosion.

“We know this will disappoint the residents of Kincaidston. We have written to those most directly affected to explain our decision. All of the gas metallic main and service pipes in the area have recently been replaced.

“However, the advice remains that if any person does smell gas at any time, then they should not hesitate in calling the national gas emergency number 0800 111 999.”