The report describes and analyzes a natural gas explosion in Coopersburg, Pa., on February 21, 1973. A gas pipline was ruptured by dynamite, and gas at 50 psig entered an apartment house and exploded. Five persons were killed, 16 persons were injured, and 2 buildings were destroyed. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the explosion and fire was the ignition, by an unknown source, of an accumulation of gas which leaked from an acetylene weld in an 8-inch pipline after the weld had been cracked by the detonation of excessively heavy and closely positioned dynamite charges. Contributing to the pipline failure was the failure of the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Coopersburg and the UGI Corporation to act upon an earlier warning by a UGI inspector about excessive use of dynamite near this gas main, despite a previous gas leak which had been caused by dynamiting on this same construction project.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Pipline Accident Report.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Transportation Safety Board

    490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20594
  • Publication Date: 1974-2-7

Media Info

  • Pagination: 29 p.

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00054473
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB-PAR-74-1
  • Files: NTIS
  • Created Date: Jun 18 1974 12:00AM