Propane Distributor Linked to More Odorless Propane

A new state report shows DCP Midstream, which distributed the unodorized propane that caused a deadly Norfolk condo explosion, also shipped dangerous propane to four gas facilities serving Massachusetts consumers.

The report was released by Attorney General Martha Coakley and State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan last week. It found DCP Midstream distributed under-odorized propane to four sites associated with Heritage Propane in Sandwich and Martha’s Vineyard. DCP Midstream also had unodorized propane in five railcars at its Westfield facility. Federal and state laws require propane to have an additive known as mercaptan, which emits a strong odor.

The report was prepared this fall by an independent propane expert. Prior to the investigation, state investigators had found six other distributors in Massachusetts received deficient propane.

On July 13, a 48-year-old electrician was killed in a condominium explosion at The Village at River’s Edge in Norfolk, Massachusetts. The complex had received unodorized propane distributed by DCP Midstream. There was a propane leak, but none of the workers at the scene that day were able to smell propane.

“We applaud the swift investigation by the Attorney General’s office, and the findings of the Independent Examiner,” said Marc Breakstone, the attorney for the electrician’s family. “But this report does not answer the question of how odorless gas ended up in the environment at the explosion site. Only time and extensive discovery will reveal the truth about how this catastrophic explosion occurred.”

State officials say the affected companies have all addressed the deficient propane. Independent testing will continue at DCP Midstream’s facility for two years.

DCP Midstream began distributing the dangerous propane in Massachusetts in May 2010. The propane originated with Aux Sable Liquid Products of Illinois.

Click here to read the Attorney General’s press release on the report about DCM Midstream’s propane deliveries.

Click here for propane safety tips.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm that handles complex cases, including home explosion cases and construction accidents. If we can help you with a case, contact us today at (617) 723-7676.