Lightning Fires Linked to Problem Gas Tubing

Jun 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from Lightning Safety Alliance

    HARTFORD, Conn., June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Class Action
 Lawsuit against four manufacturers of a relatively new type of fuel gas
 tubing has identified the installation of a lightning protection system as
 a remedy for the fire risk associated with CSST (corrugated stainless steel
 tubing) gas piping systems. CSST is a type of flexible piping that has been
 widely used in homes and commercial applications in recent years. Unlike
 traditional, heavy-walled gas pipes, CSST is extremely thin and therefore
 susceptible to damage from lightning. Lightning traveling on the CSST can
 burn holes in the tubing and allow gas leakage and fire. In worse case
 scenarios, such leaks have led to catastrophic gas explosions. The CSST has
 been found to be susceptible to damage from direct and even nearby
 lightning strikes.
     CSST has been widely used in recent years because it is easy to
 install. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
 however, no tests on the effects of lightning on CSST were conducted prior
 to its approval for use. One CSST manufacturer has acknowledged that the
 installation of a lightning protection system addresses the lightning
 hazard associated with CSST, yet homes with CSST are rarely equipped with
 lightning protection systems. Lightning strikes the United States more than
 25 million times each year. A single bolt of lightning can carry over 100
 million volts of electricity, making the hazard to homes outfitted with
 CSST a serious concern.
     "Lightning does not have to strike a building directly in order for the
 CSST to be affected," explains Guy Maxwell, president of the Lightning
 Safety Alliance. "The reports of CSST related fires that I have seen have
 involved strikes that were near the structure."
     In March 2007, the four defendants in the Class Action suit filed in
 the Circuit Court of Clark County Arkansas reached a Settlement. Under the
 guidelines of the Settlement, owners of structures in the U.S., in which
 CSST was installed prior to September 2006, can obtain vouchers to defray
 the cost of mitigating the CSST hazard. Remedies identified by the settling
 parties include installing a lightning protection system and/or making
 bonding and grounding connections to certain systems in a structure.
     "Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of publicity given to this
 situation which is estimated to affect a million or more homes," explained
 Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute in
 Maryville, MO. "Property owners have just a few short months to take
 advantage of these vouchers. Whether property owners take advantage of the
 Settlement vouchers or not these folks have a serious fire risk in their
 homes that needs to be addressed."
     The deadline to enter a claim under the CSST Settlement is September 5,
 2007. For more information call 1-800-420-2916 or visit the website at
     Contact: Kim Loehr
              804-314-8955 or

SOURCE Lightning Safety Alliance