Gas emergency puts focus on safety

A gas explosion in Alajuela is putting the focus  back on the quality of the cylinders in which the fuel for cooking is sold.

Six persons of the 15 present suffered injuries when gas that had leaked from a tank ignited. That was about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday,

Fire investigators credited cooks they did not name for keeping a cool head and turning off stoves when they detected gas fumes. The cooks also alerted diners and urged them to flee, said the Cuerpo de Bomberos.

The  Fortuna de Oro restaurant in Villa Bonita was wrecked. Concrete beams were jolted loose and even bedrooms above the ground floor restaurant were damaged heavily.

The injured were in stable condition, fire fighters said.

The Bomberos also reported that on average fire fighters answer 15 calls a day involving gas leaks. In the case of the Chinese restaurant, the problem was traced to a valve on one of three 100-pound petroleum gas cylinders, said firefighters.

The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos quickly checked in with troubling details. It said that a survey of 25,000 gas containers prevented the marketing of 1,500 that had leaks.

At the close of 2014, the agency said that 63 percent of the cylinders evaluated had some defect. Among these were lack of the name of the company that provided them or any indication of the age of the cylinder, said the agency.

Some 615,357 homes use gas for cooking, and that represents 44.3 percent of the nation’s homes, the agency said.

The Autoridad urged consumers to inspect and reject any cylinders that are faulty.

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