Flame still burns on Hyde Park Avenue

Hyde Park Avenue fire

The Boston Fire Department posted this photo of the Hyde Park Avenue gas-main fire around 12:30 p.m., more than 18 hours after it began.

Dousing the fire would require shutting off the 10-inch gas main that's feeding it, which would force hundreds of homes to lose heat. Officials decided to monitor the fire as National Grid workers build a temporary bypass line around it. Once that's finished, the main will be shut for repairs and then turned back on.



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While I understand to wanting

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While I understand to wanting to deprive people of heat, I would think it shouldn't take more than 30-45 minutes to turn it off, douse things down, and turn them on again. Why is this the most sensible solution?


way bigger deal than that

Most of the houses that lose heat would then have to be manually visited and inspected to make sure that things like pilot lights are re-lit and not just venting gas into the structure. There is a whole protocol for this when there is a non trivial unplanned gas outage.

Please consider that the professionals involved, did indeed, choose the most sensible solution given the circumstances.


If a pilot goes out, in

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If a pilot goes out, in theory it won't vent unburned gas. The thermocouple is a fail-safe device which shuts off the gas if there's no flame.


Almost as bad

No pilot light = no heat = frozen people and/or frozen pipes.

They'll need to turn off the main to attach the temporary bypass so hopefully people will be on-hand to help residents who's heat doesn't go back on.


"In theory"

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In theory, is your problem. Perhaps newer appliances have a fail-safe device to stop gas constantly venting into the house if the pilot light goes off, but older furnaces and appliances DO NOT.

In fact, often the only time someone will know that their pilot light has gone out is smelling the gas. That's how I knew when the pilot lights on my stove (installed sometime in the late 1980's...not so very old as appliances go) went out...I smelled the gas.

If a furnace. stove or other gas appliance it working correctly and efficiently otherwise, people are not going to lay out a (sometimes huge) chunk of money to replace it just because there is a new feature available, even if it is a safety feature like a fail-safe valve. They will save up and wait until it's no longer a choice to replace it.

That's what the assorted fire fighters, plumbers and Keyspan (gas company) workers are aware of and working with right now.


Thermocouples aren't new

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Thermocouples aren't new technology. And they are required for any pilot.

I don't know how you managed to buy a late 80s stove that didn't shut off the gas when the pilot went out, but that's not supposed to be possible.

Today it's hard to find a new stove with a pilot at all, since it's a waste of gas.



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