Knesset to probe rash of almost 9,000 gas leaks in recent years

Incidents were the result of inadequate inspections, illegal uses of gas, gas leaks, bursting pipes and fires.

February 13, 2014 19:47
1 minute read.
Jerusalem gas explosion, January 20, 2014.

Jerusalem gas explosion, January 20, 2014.. (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

The Knesset State Control Committee on Thursday announced that it would hold a hearing next Monday on a spike of 8,785 gas leak incidents in recent years.

The hearing comes in the aftermath of the January gas pipe explosion tragedy in Jerusalem which took the lives of four people and resulted in an inspector, who had checked the pipe in question, being suspended for at least 60 days.

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The 8,785 incidents under discussion, some of which led to severe injury or death, occurred in the years 2009- 2012 and, according to the statement, were the result of inadequate inspections, illegal uses of gas, gas leaks, bursting pipes and fires.

Committee chairman, Shas MK Amnon Cohen, said that “from the data of the state comptroller, a grave picture arises in which the disaster that occurred in the Gilo neighborhood could happen at any minute, either in a house or in the transporting of gas on Israeli roads.”

The statement cited the comptroller as reporting that the Energy Ministry had failed to draft new regulations to improve oversight and approvals of potentially problematic gas situations.

The comptroller also reported that in a spot check of 47 applications relating to dealing with gas, there were consistent deficiencies in terms of whether background checks and other checks had been performed on the applicants, the statement indicated.

According to the statement, the comptroller’s report indicated that those responsible for filing reports relating to gas use have frequently failed to do so, yet no government authority has cracked down on them for this failure.

On Wednesday, a Rehovot mall complained of a gas leak for a period of hours which ultimately lightly injured two people from smoke inhalation, said the statement.

Next, the statement reported that on Wednesday police arrested five Rahat residents suspected of possessing gas in an illegal manner.

The hearing is expected to discuss a range of other potential problematic areas of oversight in gas use, including with airplanes.

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