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News Release
 
Natural Gas Accident Spurs ReminderTo Call Before Digging
 
October 24, 2006 (2006 - 020)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR –A natural gas-related explosion and fire at a Tigard residence this week serves as a stark reminder why it is important to first contact a toll-free call center if you are planning on digging near your home or business according to the safety staff with the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
 
“This unfortunate incident in Tigard exemplifies the importance of the Call Before you Dig Law,” J.R. Gonzalez, the head of the PUC safety staff division said. “This incident highlights how important it is for everyone, including home owners to make a phone call before digging. In this case it appears the leak and subsequent explosion and fire was caused by an individual driving a ground rod into an existing natural gas line.”
 
Most people never consider the small jobs they are doing around their homes such as planting bushes and trees, installing sprinkler systems, or even placing a real estate sign or mail box post as excavating.
 
In Oregon we have the “Call Before you Dig Law.” To call the Oregon Utility Notification Center dial 1-800-332-2344. The call center is staffed 24 hours a day seven days a week. The service is free. The people at the other end will help you locate underground facilities before you begin digging in your yard or garden.
 
The accident in question occurred Monday afternoon. Two Northwest Natural crew members received burns in the accident.
 
PUC safety staff is working with Northwest Natural and others to determine the exact cause of the accident.
 
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