EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Direct Action Against CenterPoint Energy (DAACE) is petitioning Vanderburgh County governments and the city of Evansville to pass a building ordinance requiring explosive gas detectors in residential building codes.
According to a release, since 2004, Evansville has had three devastating home explosions including on Lincoln, Hercules and the recent Weinbach explosion. While the Weinbach explosion remains still under investigation, sources say the incident has increased resident’s concerns about natural gas safety and infrastructure.
Officials say the explosive gas detectors are meant to be installed near fuel-consuming appliances like furnaces and stoves to alert people when natural gas, propane and other explosive gases are detected at a dangerous level. The devices are available through most home-improvement retail stores in both hard-wired and battery operated form for $20 to $50.
Strong-smelling additives like mercaptan are added to odorless gases, but reports say there may be different physical and chemical factors leading to “odorfade” where people would not smell the gas. This includes the loss of smell, a primary symptom of COVID-19 which has been known to last months after infection.
DAACE is also encouraging the government along with the proposed ordinance, to enact a local rebate or subsidy program for moderate to low income residents to install the detectors in their houses for those who wouldn’t be required to under the ordinance.
Reports show out of 50 states, only Maine currently has required explosive gas detectors, leaving Vanderburgh County an opportunity to pave the way for Indiana to require the devices that may keep residents safer in their homes.