House & Garden   


July 12, 2000, but really timeless

Gas Bomb

Those two houses in Brooklyn that blew up, scary. When I moved out of the house I sold to my brother, my father was moving in to the downstairs apartment and was storing stuff in the cellar. He was inadvertently hanging a whole bunch of very heavy coats and other clothes on hangers, he was hanging them on a 1.5" gas pipe across the cellar ceiling. I was going back and forth from house to house, and I was finished moving and the house my dad and brother were moving into was empty. I was all set to go to a bar and meet a broad and get drunk and laid, but I had to make one more trip back to the house. 

When I opened the back door, there was a TREMENDOUS smell of gas, I went racing into the basement and discovered that all of the clothes my father had been hanging on the gaspipe caused the pipe to be pulled off the ceiling, and gas was spewing out of the 1.5" pipe and had completely filled the house. I mean you could hear the fwooshing sound of the gas, I ran up to one of the empty apartments and immediately called PSEG and told them I had a major leak/emergency, and then I went back into the basement to see where the gas was coming from, the pipe was all entangled with clothes laying all over the floor, behind an unused stove. 

Finally I located where a valve on the pipe had been broken off when the pipe came down, I stuck the valve back into the slot and at least stemmed the gas, then I raced all over opening windows, and oh, about 15-20 minutes later the PSEG shows up and reads his gas detector and tells me to get the fuck out of there.

Toys in the Attic

I kept thinking of that guy in I think Staten Island who about 15 years ago had his house blow up and sex toys flew all over the place. The PSEG guy said I was lucky it was summer because otherwise the boiler coming on would've sparked a BIG explosion. As it was, I had moved the stove across the concrete cellar floor, I could've sparked that, or even turning on a light, a little short, and KABOOM.

Reader Feedback

Please tell the guy who almost blew up his house that I did blow up my house. I have a disorder which prevents me from sniffing odors, and there was a gas leak. I needed to do some light soddering under the bathroom sink and sparked the gas. The bathtub miraculously landing on top of me prevented me from being crushed under the debris. Fortunately I had good insurance. I now live in a warm climate year-round and leave the windows open.

-- Chas Berkowitz

Panama City, Panama

In fact when I had first gone into the basement with the gas guy, I turned on a light and he almost hit me. He wouldn't clear anyone to go into the house for an hour afterwards, even with the windows opened, his detector was still reading, "It'll Blow." I was shitting my pants, and needless to say when the crisis passed, I got hammered like you wouldn't believe. I kept thinking of the flame that would've been shooting out of that pipe; how fierce it would've been if it ignited. Never mind that it would've been blowtorching a pile of matchstick lumber.

Every time I think of the consequences of what would've happened if that house blew up, I get a very sick feeling in my stomach. The house wasn't even insured! I was in the process of transferring ownership. No one would've had anywhere to live! Whenever I think I'm not catching a break in life, I think how close I came to blowing that fucking house into splinters and what a break that was.

--Dick Acorn


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