Residents worried over illegal gas balloons
It is believed that hundreds of illegal gas balloons are being transported around the Haifa area every day.
By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY (TRANSLATED)
February 10, 2008 11:10
1 minute read.
"Pirate" gas balloons and the vehicles that transport them around the city are endangering the lives of thousands of residents daily, according to the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. More than 40 trucks carrying illegal gas balloons have been caught in the Haifa area in the past three years, and authorities say it is a miracle no balloon has exploded and caused a disaster.
According to the report, it is believed that hundreds of illegal gas balloons are being transported around the Haifa area every day. The potential dangers came to light after a truck and a car collided in a minor accident in the Hadar area last month. Traffic police who arrived at the scene were amazed to discover that the truck was carrying dozens of unauthorized gas balloons destined for illegal sale. They said it was fortunate that none of the balloons had exploded as a result of the accident in the busy neighborhood.
The report said that only vehicles authorized by the Transport Ministry to carry dangerous substances can transport gas balloons legally, while the National Infrastructure Ministry and the Ministry for Environmental Protection supervise the licensed gas companies in their filling and installation of the balloons.
A National Infrastructure Ministry employee said inspectors "frequently" found improperly-installed gas balloons on the Carmel summit, and these had led to tragedies in the past and were likely to lead to further catastrophes in the future. The employee said illegal installers of gas balloons would often cut essential pipes in a building and leave pipes uncovered and uninsulated, risking leaks "that are likely to lead to disaster." Because domestic gas is colorless and largely odorless, large quantities of gas can accumulate without anyone noticing.
"The explosion of one kilogram of domestic gas is equivalent to the explosion of 2.5 kg of explosives," he said.