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Berks County residents respond to NYC explosion

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 12 2014 09:35:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2014 10:30:53 PM CDT

NYC explosion

READING, Pa. -

In the wake of the deadly explosion in the East Harlem section of New York, neighbors in Berks County are now asking if the region is prepared for a similar tragedy.

Isamac Torres-Figueroa contacted 69 News after she began to see crews outside her home last week in the 300 block of S. 5th Street in Reading digging up the streets.

She soon learned contractors were fixing a gas leak.

Officials say that leak has been fixed. But with all the gas explosions happening lately, including Wednesday's explosion in East Harlem, Torres-Figueroa says she's on edge now more than ever.

"For me, it's how do we minimize the loss of life. I'm by no means an expert, I'm here as a concerned citizen saying we have to be more vigilant," said Torres-Figueroa.

Since January, UGI has also been conducting surveys to check for gas leaks and will continue to do so throughout the cold weather.

The company is also in the middle of an almost $100 million project to replace 67 miles of cast iron and bare steel throughout its entire service area.

But concerned residents like Torres-Figueroa are now calling on local leaders to get involved.

"Through our legislators to say what are we doing to make sure this aging infrastructure that has to be upgraded, has to be maintained is safe. We have to make sure it's safe," said Torres-Figueroa.

UGI safety produces to in the event of a gas leak:

Steps if You Smell Natural Gas
• UGI adds an odorant, which smells like sulfur or "rotten eggs," to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak. The odorant is added in small concentrations and is harmless.

• If you smell an odor of sulfur or rotten eggs, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you.

• Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off inside the building, including your phone or a flashlight.

• Leave the door open behind you and call UGI from your cell phone or neighbor's home. UGI's emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722.

• UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately.

• UGI emergency responders are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Your safety is always our top priority.