'No blame' over corroded gas pipe which led to home explosion

Long-term corrosion of a gas pipe caused the explosion, however no blame could be directed to any one agency.

Kincaidston home explosion ’caused by corroded gas pipe’ but no one to blame, report finds SNS Group

An explosion at a house in South Ayrshire which left a family of four in hospital was caused by a corroded gas pipe, an investigation has found.

Dozens of properties were damaged and one was completely destroyed by the blast in the Gorse Park area of Kincaidston in October last year.

A mother and her son were left fighting for their lives following the incident, which led to the entire gas pipe network on the estate being ripped out during a multi-agency probe.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) later announced that no further action would be taken over the explosion, despite the damage.

However, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request found “numerous localised spots of corrosion” in the pipe leading into the home, according to the HSE’s report.

Data obtained by the BBC and a number of other media organisations also uncovered the damage may have been caused as far back as the early 1970s when the network was laid by a predecessor to Scottish Gas Networks (SGN).

The author of the report, Steve Critchlow, said the extent of the damage to the property meant it was “not possible to identify an ignition source,” adding it was his opinion that the corrosion occurred because the plastic coating of the pipe was damaged.

It was stated that SGN “should have done more” to prevent the explosion.

However it was not possible to apportion blame to any of the agencies involved in the building or development of the estate.

The HSE said its own investigation into the explosion had now been concluded. Three of the four worst affected houses have been demolished, while the other is empty.

An HSE spokesperson described the investigation as “complex,” adding they were aware of the “significant disruption and concern” in the local community.

“We investigated this incident fully and notified the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) of the outcome of the investigation,” a statement said.

“HSE concluded that there was no evidence to indicate that, on the balance of probabilities, SGN failed to do all that it reasonably should have done to prevent the explosion. 

“We know this will disappoint the residents of Kincaidston. We have written to those most directly affected to explain our decision.

“All of the gas metallic main and service pipes in the area have recently been replaced. However, the advice remains that if any person does smell gas at any time, then they should not hesitate in calling the National Gas Emergency Number 0800 111 999.” 

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