Utility Contractor Tulsa | Helping You Make The Right Decision
This content was written for GEI Utility Construction

The incident which we referenced in the first paragraph of Part 1 of this article and which is the inspiration for this article happened due to an unlocated gas line. GEI Utility Construction, the utility contractor Tulsa has depended on for nearly 40 years, had a project in Tulsa in which our operator was in the process of excavating for security cameras for an electrical contractor who we worked for in and around several locations throughout the greater Tulsa area. While digging underneath a sidewalk, his mini excavator tooth snagged a gas line that was underneath a sidewalk, approximately in the middle of an existing 4’ wide sidewalk. The gas line that was ruptured was a 2 inch main line. It was feeding several buildings in this apartment complex and was not located at all. Our operator moved the equipment away from the accident site and notified the proper authorities before clearing the area for first responders.

After first responders arrived GEI Utility Construction’s equipment operator and project manager returned to the job site to make sure everything was being handled and that our company would not be held liable for a non located damage to the gas line. Upon arriving to this site, our project manager was confronted by several firefighters who notified them that GEI Utility Construction would be paying a big bill for this accident.

This brings up another potential issue with the locating system. When first responders have not been trained properly in the handling of these types of situations and begin placing blame before having any of the facts. Luckily, we were onsite throughout nearly the entire process and were able to correct him before he talked to the news and incorrectly placed the blame on the contractor. This is not something that we believe was done maliciously but simply due to not knowing the process and procedures and how broken those processes and procedures truly are.

Our project manager proceeded to show the fire fighter in command all of our locate tickets proving that we did in fact have valid utility locates for nearly the entire apartment complex and certainly had utility locates in all of the areas that were work areas. Our representative also went on to show the firefighter the damage reports we had already made on this site due to cutting non-located phone lines. This had happened 4 times already on this construction site, but luckily, or at least until that point, they had only been phone service lines. Not having a valid locate ticket can put you and your contractor at great risk, if your contractor Tulsa is not notifying the proper channels he is putting your job site in potential hazard and liability because an unmarked gas line due to no locate ticket is always the fault of the utility contractor Tulsa. If your utility Tulsa is excavating and does not have a locate ticket will he stay around? Or will he leave before a utility owner or first responder arrives and leave you with the blame and the liability for the damage? This sounds like a very unlikely situation; however, it happens more often than you may think when dealing with an unreliable utility contractor Tulsa. Ensure the success of your project by choosing a reputable utility contractor Tulsa with a long-standing track record in the area.

The gas company’s contractor, after several hours, could not locate the valve to stop the flow of gas. This is where the snowball effect we referenced in the sentence of the first paragraph of part 1 of this article begins to gain momentum. The gas line blew gas into the atmosphere for at least three hours while the gas contractor and gas utility owner’s representative frantically searched for the valve to shut the line off. At some point the decision was made to begin excavation to search for the damaged location and to begin repair before the gas line was shut off. The gas company’s utility Tulsa moved to the area where the gas line had been damaged beneath the sidewalk and begin excavation. As we talked about earlier in this article utility locating companies are extremely unreliable in all areas Tulsa, notwithstanding; however, the electric company does tend to have a better locating contractor that typically is on the job site marking their property within the given time. This was the case on this job. There was an electrical line positively and clearly marked and located within 24 inches of the markings right in front of the gas company’s utility contractor Tulsa operator who began digging.

As the gas utility contractor Tulsa began excavating for the damage gas line he struck and cut the electrical line, which was clearly marked. In fact, it was one of the only marks in the area that was done on time and accurately. This chain of events happened as three other gas Contractor Tulsa employees were standing in the ditch near the excavated area and one fireman was walking towards the group of gas utility contractor employees to hand them waters to drink. When the electric line was struck it caused a short in the line between two phases, the electric line created what is known as an arc flash which is electricity traveling through the air creating a strong spark several times hotter than the surface of the sun that works outward from the originating location. This arc flash set off the gas line which was still blowing gas because it had not been properly valved-off before excavation began. When the spewing gas was ignited it touched off a 40-foot blow torch that sent flames into the air for at least another two hours. The gas line company’s utility contractor Tulsa and the firefighter which were nearby all received burns both minor and major from being in the direct path of the flames and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital to receive treatment. The flames, now traveling 40-50 feet through the air then burnt a power pole and several trees in the area and had to be contained by the firefighters that were already on site.

Continued, See: The Broken Utility Locating System, Part 3