That explosion caused extensive property damage to M’s Pub, the Market House and apartments and condos located in those buildings.
OSHA officials say initial reports indicate that North Central Service of Bemidji, Minnesota were conducting boring operations for Unite Private Networks in front of the M’s Pub building in order to install fiber optic cable. During the boring operations a gas line was struck. Employees inside M’s Pub noticed the smell of natural gas and the explosion occurred a short time later.
OSHA Area Director for Omaha Jeff Funke says, “These types of incidents are preventable if OSHA standards are followed.” He says they opened an investigation with North Central Service, Unite Private Networks, M’s Pub, the Metropolitan Utilities District and will be working with Omaha fire officials in this process.
Funke says, “Employers conducting work in the vicinity of underground utilities are required to determine the exact location of the lines through safe and acceptable means. Preliminary information does show they did reach out and had utilities located and marked and actually had them refreshed. However, to do a complete investigation we will have to ask a lot of questions about that locate and if it was accurate and if they did everything they were required to do.”
Funke says the investigation could take weeks to complete.