Technical Safety BC publishes incident investigation report into Richmond apartment explosion and fire

Technical Safety BC has published its incident investigation report detailing the root causes of an explosion that took place in a Richmond apartment building on July 10, 2019.

The incident resulted as gas contractors were completing a fireplace retrofit in a four-storey apartment building. The workers inadvertently caused damage to the piping system which fed natural gas to four of the individual units. The gas had not been turned off to the four units connected to a common pipeline (gas riser) in the building and there were no tests for gas leaks completed after the retrofit work, resulting in an explosion and fire. 

This incident serves as an important reminder that:

  • Before removing any gas appliances or connected piping, gas fitters, fireplace companies and contractors should isolate the gas supply upstream of the appliance or connected piping. Upon completion of the work, they should complete leak testing of any piping that has been manipulated or modified as a result of the retrofit.
  • Homeowners, strata corporations, and property managers should be aware than when hiring gas contractors for retrofit work, the contractors should isolate the necessary portions of a gas system and test the system to verify it is safe for use. Because this practice may interrupt gas supply to surrounding units, discussion and coordination should be done in advance.

Our full incident investigation summary provides an overview of the incident, the scope of our investigation, and key technical findings.

About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research. 

Media contact:
Media Relations Team
Cell: 778 396 2164

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