Chepstow house explosion ‘thought not to be caused by gas’

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Media captionWitnesses captured the aftermath of the blast

An explosion at a house which left a man seriously hurt may not have been caused by gas, investigators have said.

Homes were evacuated following the blast on Lower Church Street, Chepstow, Monmouthshire at about 18:30 BST on Monday.

Wales and West Utilities said it worked with the emergency services to make the area safe.

The cause is still being looked at but the company said it was “not thought” to be linked to the mains gas network.

Gwent Police said the man, who was inside the house, was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

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Liza Hawkins

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Smoke could be seen rising from the area

Richie Jones, Wales and West Utilities gas emergency service manager for Chepstow, said: “We were called to reports of an explosion at a property in the Lower Church Street area of Chepstow yesterday evening and immediately sent a team of engineers to the scene.

“On arrival we found that the property had been damaged and emergency services were in control of the scene.

“We worked with the emergency services to make the area safe and have now left the area. The cause of the explosion is still being investigated, however it is not thought to be related to the mains gas network.”

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Ben Thatcher

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One witness described hearing a “massive bang”

The Welsh Ambulance Service said an air ambulance, two rapid response vehicles, an emergency ambulance and the hazardous area response team had also been sent to the scene.

A cordon remains in place, with police advising people to stay away from the area.

Ben Powell, who lives opposite the blast site, said he heard “a massive bang” that “shook” his flat.

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Guy Hamilton

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Firefighters were on the scene at Lower Church Street

“I looked out my window and there were literally bits of the house opposite everywhere and people were screaming,” he said.

“The house looked like a bomb had gone off inside but then there was a little flame – and within two minutes the whole house had caught fire.

“It’s dreadful. I just hope everyone is OK.”

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Chepstow News Centre

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South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it had sent a large number of resources to tackle the blaze

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Hydrofluorocarbons: Super Greenhouse Gas in Your Kitchen & Bathroom

Making changes to heal the hole in the ozone layer that developed over Antarctica in the 1980s is one of the great achievements of the past quarter-century. Humans paid attention to the growing threat of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), responded with global policy, and the ozone layer has partially recovered. But American household and commercial cleaning product companies have embraced another greenhouse gas as an aerosol propellant, hydrofluorocarbon 152A, which accelerates global warming.

A variety of products sold to consumers in the United States contain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) despite a recent global treaty to ban the substance. A “super greenhouse gas,” HFC 152A represents a growing threat to the planet’s climate.

Since the Montreal Protocol, a United Nations treaty that banned ozone-depleting CFCs and dozens of other ozone-depleting chemicals in 1987, the ozone hole — which is really an area of ozone centered over the south pole that becomes too thin to reflect the sun’s radiation — has stabilized. The depleted region of ozone reached its peak in 2006 at 27-million kilometers. Although CFCs are still detected, the Montreal Protocol has been largely effective at stopping the advance of ozone thinning.

By 2019, use of chemicals banned by the Montreal Protocol had been reduced by 98%, the United Nations reported. Treaties can be very effective climate policy.

NASA graph showing annual records of ozone hole area and the minimum density of ozone in the atmosphere

Annual records of ozone hole area and the minimum density of ozone in the atmosphere, measured in Dobson Units that represent 0.01 mm of thickness in the ozone layer. Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In 2018, CFC levels spiked due to illegal activity and the ozone hole expanded to 85% of its 2006 size. There is still much work to be done to eliminate CFCs and close the ozone hole.

Then Came HFC 152A

Hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) were introduced as a safer alternative to CFCs in the 1990s. HFC 152A, a popular propellant, was believed to be better because it did not bond to and disrupt ozone stability. But that assumption has been proved wrong.

“HFCs are not as bad as CFCs,” Nathan Borgford-Powell, Scientific Advisory Panel and Science Affairs Coordinator at the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, wrote in email to Earth911, “CFCs are both ozone depleting and super greenhouse gases. HFCs are just super greenhouse gases.” He pointed out that personal care companies were among the first to eliminate CFCs in the 1980s.

HFC 152A has replaced the CFC-based propellants in hair spray, antiperspirants, disinfectants, and cleaning products despite their long-lived impact on the environment. HFC 152 is frequently touted as an improvement because it does not have a large impact on the ozone layer. Instead, it contributes to poor air quality and atmospheric warming, remaining in the atmosphere for as long as two decades. As a result, HFC emissions increased by 23% between 2012 and 2016 alone, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2018 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.

“Aerosol deoderants were almost entirely switched to pumps, sticks, and roll-ons [even before the Montreal Protocol existed],” Borgford-Powell said. “It strikes me

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Vegetables From North GA’s Garden Feed Lumpkin County Students

DAHLONEGA, GA — As school nutrition director at Lumpkin County Schools, Julie Knight-Brown learned some surprising news about elementary school children.

“The little kids love radishes,” Knight-Brown said. “One of the parents thanked the café manager at Long Branch Elementary for introducing her children to radishes. She said, ‘They loved them.'”

Fresh radishes, tomatoes, onions, and an assortment of herbs were a few items the University of North Georgia supplied the school system this summer and into the fall. The vegetables and herbs were grown and harvested from the gardens at the Vickery House and Appalachian Studies Center on University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega Campus. The fresh produce was delivered to Lumpkin County Schools and has been integrated into school lunches.

“We started in July and harvested on a weekly basis,” said David Patterson, associate professor of biology who spearheaded the project.

Knight-Brown said some produce such as cherry tomatoes and radishes have been a “featured” vegetable at a school or offered as a side dish in the cafeteria. Other items such as onions were incorporated into other meals while herbs were used for their flavor.

A portion of the summer produce was frozen for future use, which helped the school’s finances this academic year. Knight-Brown explained the school nutrition program’s budget has suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the donations from the University of North Georgia’s gardens happened at an optimal time.

“All school nutrition programs are facing the same financial dilemma,” Knight-Brown said. “We will happily take any donated fresh produce.”

Lumpkin County Schools is not the only beneficiary of the Hometown Harvest program. University of North Georgia students in need of service-learning hours can get their hands dirty in the gardens. Patterson said between five and 10 students helped harvest the produce this summer.

Two more students, Amelia Arthur and Zach Pilgrim, have been involved in a precision agriculture research project funded by University of North Georgia’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. The primary objective was to test the impact of a precision agriculture system in small-scale gardens as a means for increasing food production for students in need.

“They took the garden from seed to production,” Patterson said. “They also collected the data, which we are analyzing now.”

In the meantime, the gardens have been turned to produce fall vegetables for Lumpkin County Schools. Leafy greens and broccoli seeds have been sown. The only missing element this fall is more volunteers.

“The gardens at the Vickery House have always been viewed as an heirloom garden,” Patterson said. “But now we have determined how to integrate consistent food production with seed-saving techniques. Now we need more University of North Georgia and community involvement.”

He said some volunteer opportunities could be as simple as watering the garden or turning over the compost. Pulling weeds may take a little more effort and knowledge, Patterson said.

“Some students may have trouble knowing the difference between an onion stem and a weed, but we are there to

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Remodeling – Avoid Home Improvement Disasters Involving Gas and Electricity

Opportunity and danger are two sides of the same coin. Home improvement projects offer the opportunity to enjoy your home and to increase its value. Such projects; However, present the danger of personal injury, property damage, and unexpected expense if the work contains construction defects. Here are some steps you should take to maximize the opportunity and minimize the danger of home improvement projects. This article addresses common construction defects in exterior projects involving gas pipes and electrical wires. Related articles cover other construction defects.

1. Do your homework. People research many major purchases; but they spend thousands of dollars on home improvements with little or no research about avoiding construction defects or about hiring a qualified and reliable contractor. Information that can help homeowners is available from many sources. Books explain basic construction and building code concepts in plain language. Manufacturer's installation instructions for many products are available on the internet. This does not mean that you need to become a construction expert before you embark on a home improvement project. You can and should; However, become educated so that you can recognize common construction defects. Being able to recognize construction defects puts the contractor on notice that you are an informed consumer.

2. Use only licensed and experienced contractors. Verify the status of the contractor's license and whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Complaints against a contractor are not always a deal killer, but they are a red flag that requires more investigation. Obtain references from the contractor and contact them. Use at least one reference from a project completed over one year ago to help you determine the contractor's response to warranty issues.

3. Obtain a building permit, if required. A building permit is usually required if new electrical circuits, water pipes, or gas pipes are installed or if there are significant additions or changes to any of these systems. A permit is usually required when adding to or making structural changes to a building. A permit is an inexpensive way to get inspections of the work by a qualified third party. It may also reduce your potential liability if a problem occurs. The contractor should obtain the permit. If the contractor is reluctant to obtain a permit, this is a red flag. The contractor may not be licensed to do the work, or he may have other problems that you may want to know about.

4. Look for common construction defects. Here are some examples of common construction defects in exterior home improvement projects.

Failure to bury gas pipes and electrical wires at required depth. Digging around buried gas pipes and electrical wires can damage them and cause gas leaks and electrical shocks. Bury most gas pipes at least twelve inches below the finished dirt level. Bury electrical wires at least twelve inches if the wires are ground fault circuit protected. Bury wires enclosed in metal conduit at least six inches. Bury most other electrical wires at least eighteen inches.

Failure to place

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