Oakley building inspector halts furnace gas leak | Features

A seasoned Oakley City Building Inspector recently prevented a potential tragedy by stopping a gas leak on a new wall-hung stove that caught fire in a home in Oakley.

On Wednesday, March 31st, Scott Sanders arrived at a house in Oakley at around 10:30 am to perform an inspection on a wall-mounted stove that had been installed the day before.

When Sanders opened an access door to make sure the code-mandated gas shut-off valve was in place, he saw a 3-inch flame emerging from the gas hose where it shouldn’t have been.

The real pilot light was about a foot away and was lit.

Sanders said the metal was scorching hot so he couldn’t get his hand into the access door to turn off the gas. He blew out the flame and let the gas out for a few minutes until it cooled down and could safely reach in and close the gas valve.

“When we conduct inspections, we make decisions every day that will affect people’s lives and property five, 10, 15 years from now by making sure everything is code and safe,” said Sanders. “We make serious decisions like this all the time.”

It turned out that the gas leak was not a problem for the contractor, but a loose gas fitting from the manufacturer. When the pilot was set on fire, no one noticed the leak.

Sanders believes the gas flashed from the pilot light and started the leak. The contractor appeared immediately to fix the problem.

Sanders has worked for the City of Oakley for over 19 years, first as a construction contractor and now as a valued construction inspector.

“Scott’s quick thinking and professionalism could very well have saved lives,” said Joshua McMurray, the city’s director of community and economic development. “Sometimes people think the city’s approval and inspection process is a lot of hassle or red tape, but that’s why we have such strict standards. We are as grateful for Scott’s actions as everyone in the ward should be. “

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