Monday, March 20, 2006

Gas Explosions Common in Ukraine?

I got the following from the Kyiv Post:

Gas explosion partially destroys western Ukrainian home, injuring three people

Mar 20 2006, 12:15

(AP) A gas explosion partially destroyed a western Ukraine home on Monday, injuring three people, emergency officials said.

The explosion struck the four-story home around 9 a.m. (0700 GMT), the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement.

Rescuers said three people were injured, including two who were hospitalized in serious condition.

The home's other residents were evacuated, and emergency crews were searching the building for other victims.

A preliminary investigation suggested a gas leaked was the cause. Gas explosions are common in Ukraine, where most residents use natural gas for cooking.

Is this last line true? Whenever in Pidhajtsi, I frequently wonder about the potential for gas explosions. I constantly am smelling gas in the air when there--gas in the house, or gas on the street leaking from a nearby, above-ground stretch of pipe, just gas, gas, and more haz. I really do wonder if there are not frequent explosions. Not that I saw people being careless about how they used gas--though I did see people being what were to my eyes (as someone from a society that at one point was trying hard to inculcate a culture of conservation) totally careless about HOW MUCH they used. It was just that, having knowledge about the decayed state of the whole of Ukraine's infrastructure combined with the frequency with which I smelled gas, I was freaked out now and again. Is this house, which has gas pumping into the pichka right next to where I am going to bed in a room in which I can smell a slight whiff of gas, going to explode before I get up in the middle of the night to turn the gas off? If I were a miner in Ukraine, I would be even more anxiety-ridden. You hear about mine explosions, but never about home explosions. . .How common is this, or is this AP comment merely a bit of journalistic hyperbole?


Anonymous said...

Gas is just coming to Bystiv it is village in western Ukraine. I have purchased home there it where my Grandafther grew up.

To get a gas hookup in Home they bring Engineer out then make a plan. That cost $40. They are very careful with new installs

Have a bunch of images & video clips of my Ukraine life see link

In Oregon where I am from you get gas hookup for free. You can do the Piping yourself then get inspected. In Ukraine I have to hire Contrator then pay for hook up. With Burying line to home & labor I have $260 out that just for pipe Now will need to pay another $500 to get METER Installed then another $300 for Gas Boiler.

They are very careful with New Installs.

They will not give me gas hook up for BBQ Outside in USA this is Comon to have Gas Outside.

Engineer tells me Nemoshna.

Soon as they leave I agoing to put a Tee in & run line

On new Installs they are Careful but you see pipes everywhere.

On gas range you will have to have exposed pipe with Valve is USA it cleaner install. It is requred you have tile around appliance.

Another thing you need a relaif Valve Installed 3 Meters from Home
then they run pipes above ground to home. In USA They put pipe underground & meter regualtor next to house.

All I can say Ukraine does not Trust there Gas Technology.

It is rough compared to USA Tech. All the new boilers are automatic. |& new Installs requrie a gas alarm. Snifer that oes off it smells gas

I stayed with Relative in LVIV he had a Cooknya not a Peachka it was adapted to gas with just a pipe. It was crude & by US Standards Danger but hey it worked okay.

I always wondered if I would wake up dead when I stayed with him. Even if it does not exploed you can sufocate as it dispalces Oxygen.

I don't beleive it is as common as it could be on old installs yes it is possible & all People in Apartment know they need to stay in Kitchen & watch when they cook.

I did hear of two Aprtment Building years ago being blowed up by Accident they where filling bottles of gas from gas line in Apartment

Stefan said...

Sorry that it has taken so long for me to respond to your comment. . .

Gas came to Pihdajtsi just six years ago. They tore up the roads everywhere and only did the minimum required to fill in the long ditches once the work was done. They basically filled the holes and block long ditches left from the installation process with dirt, and then topped it off with a mixture of tar and rocks. I will post some photos of the deep ruts these poorly repaired roads have turned into to my fotopages when I get a chance.

I have no idea how much each household had to pay for the installation, but my guess is not as much as the installation is costing in Bystiv.

However, everyone says that the roads were not adequately but only minimally repaired because, of course, someone pocketed a lot of money and so they did what they could with what was left over.

Interestingly enough, a couple of Mexican friends recently told me that this was also the case with gas and road repair in their hometown in central Mexico. Viva el Coruption!

I hope you didn't think I was saying that the installation work is necessarily done in a careless fashion or that Ukrainians are careless about how they use gas in general (the issue of how much they use is different). I really don't know about installation, but I do worry that they are careless about maintenance.

And they do use a hell of lot of gas domestically. . .a hell of a lot. More than what is necessary.

Once gas arrived, a new method of heating rooms out of the reach of the pichka was to--if the room had one of the gas tubes running through it that you mentioned do not get buried behind a wall--buy an old cooking oven, hook it up to the line, turn it on and let it rip with the door open!

I got yelled at all the time as a kid if I left the door open! Because it was wasteful, but also, come to think of it, because it was dangerous!

Of course, people need heat. But people also got along without heating those rooms before the gas arrived, and they could continue--though having an extra room or two that you can use in wintertime, when a lot of families have traditionally been forced to huddle together in
fewer rooms, is QUITE liberating. . .especially for the youth.

Gas--it's such an issue in Ukraine!

Thanks for the comment. . .