LUBBOCK, Texas– A month after the house explosion that happened in South Lubbock, homeowners anxiously wait until the investigation is closed. The City of Lubbock has released a statement that confirmed a gas line was hit while a city construction crew worked on repairing water pipes.
Noe Ramos lives next door to the house that exploded. He said a month later that the experience has changed him and tarnished his truth about construction projects in the area.
“My wife had minutes to get out of the house,” Ramos said. “It’s almost like if it doesn’t happen to you–you don’t really realize how big of a deal it is … It just totally makes you feel helpless.”
One possible area that can lead to accidents during construction zones is the maps used to outline underground pipes. City of Lubbock’s Director of Engineering Mike Keenum said that construction crews only have so many resources available to locate water, power, and sewage lines.
“We would love for it to be a perfect science. I’m an engineer, I like things to be exact, and we’re dealing with infrastructure that’s been in the ground for 7080 100 years,” Keenum said. We look at any record drawings or as-built drawings, which should be marked up as construction drawings. It shows where things actually went into the ground, and we go off of that and try to identify and locate where our actual lines are. Obviously, we use any clues we can find on the surface. But we’re talking about marking lines that are below the ground. And we’re trying to use limited surface information to identify the location of that.”
Atmos gas has met with several City of Lubbock departments over the past few weeks. Atmos spokesperson Edward Espinoza said their top priority is to work closely with crews in the area and help train and educate contractors moving forward.
“We have a great relationship with several departments within the city of Lubbock,” Espinoza said. “Public works, water utilities, and we continue those discussions, and we continue those conversations, to make sure that we all do our part to inform and educate the community of what to do and what not to do and to stay safe.”