Pennsylvania fire officials are warning homeowners of the risk of gas leaks and fires in the event of a lightning strike if their homes contain a certain kind of gas tubing.
The bright yellow, corrugated stainless steel flexible gas tubing has been linked to lightning-induced fires in Maryland, Indiana, Ohio, and New Hampshire, Pittsburgh National Public Radio station WESA reports. Tubing manufacturers and the National Fuel Gas Code have recently adopted new guidelines for tubing installation to prevent fires caused by lightning strikes, but homes built or renovated since the 1990s may have the problem tubing, said Chris Swonger with Gastite, a manufacturer of gas tubing. He advises homeowners to check for the bright yellow tubing. An inspection and alteration to the tubing could cost about $150, he said.
Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said that if lightning strikes a building with yellow corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), electrical energy can arc, penetrating the tubing, and could cause a gas leak or fire, according to WESA. The National Fuel Gas Code has changed installation guidelines for CSST to give greater attention to the possibility of a lightning strike, but Swonger estimates that up to eight million homes in the U.S. have tubing that is not up to current code.
Fire commissioners and manufacturers like Gastite are leading a national awareness campaign, WESA reports. Gastite is one of four manufacturers that reached a multi-million dollar settlement in a 2006 class action lawsuit related to fires in Arkansas linked to CSST tubing.