Explosions prompt NJ call for gas detectors in new homes, those on the market

(Editor’s note: One day after this story was published an explosion damaged a home in Seaside Heights, N.J. A preliminary investigation points to a gas leak from inside the home)

After gas explosions recently destroyed a home in Point Pleasant and another in Stafford Township, a New Jersey lawmaker wants gas detectors installed in new homes or those changing hands before a certificate of occupancy is granted. 

Sen. Jim Holzapfel said the sensors called for in his bill would detect dangerous levels of methane or propane.

“It would warn the homeowner that there is apparently more gas in the house or in the particular structure than there should be,” he said. “So I would assume that, down the road, there will be people that will find out that they have a problem through this process as opposed to the hard way with an explosion.”

While he expects some opposition to the cost of the proposed mandate, Holzapfel, R-Ocean, said spending $40 on a detector is far better than the consequences of a house blowing up.

While the measure would not require current homeowners to purchase a sensor, he said publicity surrounding the issue might prompt them to do so.

“Maybe trying to get this bill through, if nothing else, will raise the knowledge of the average citizen that there is such a piece of equipment, inexpensive, that is available to them to protect their families, and I think most people would probably go out and invest the money anyway,” he said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal