Attorney: Gas line nearly punctured at second Cooper Avenue home

1 inch: Attorney says gas line nearly punctured at second Cooper Ave. home

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This photo shows the damaged gas line to Dan Malczynski's home in Royal Oak. This photo shows the damaged gas line to Dan Malczynski's home in Royal Oak.
ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) -

A gas explosion in Royal Oak leveled a home last week.  Now we're being told the destruction and devastation could have been worse.

"Whether or not this was just a case of ordinary negligence or was it more that just ordinary negligence?" said Stuart Sklar.

The attorney representing the family of Dan Malczynski, who died in the explosion, is working to find out how something like this could've happened.

Almost immediately, Consumers Energy took responsibility for damaging the service line to the house.

"When it was being directionally bored underneath the ground somehow nicked the service line," spokesperson Debra Dodd said last week.

However, a photo shows more like a gouge nearly two inches long.

Consumers Energy crews had been working all week on replacing the gas main on Cooper Avenue with something called horizontal directional drilling, a bore that maneuvers underground.

"How are they doing this drilling?  What plans were they following?  What precautions did they take?  Did they do what they were supposed to have been doing?  Those are really the questions that we have to answer to find out how this tragedy happened, and I'm telling you that they came within an inch of this horrible tragedy being much worse," Sklar said.

The preliminary investigation revealed something shocking.  Not only did crews damage the service line in front of Malczynski's house.  Sklar, who has photo evidence, claims workers that week using the same equipment came within an inch of puncturing the line in front of Laura Kelley's house a few doors down.  She was home with her two children at the time.

Consumers Energy with the Public Service Commission is launching their own investigation.  Did the three men working on the line follow the proper protocols?

"At the end of the day, we want to know what happened so it doesn't happen again," said Sklar.

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