There are some hypotheses about the causes of the Ravanusa explosion

The investigation into the causes of the explosion that caused the collapse of four buildings and the death of nine people in Ravanusa, in the province of Agrigento on December 11 last year, seems to have reached some conclusions, the newspapers write, although they have not yet been officially confirmed . Caused the explosion, he wrote Republic, would have been the failure of a weld from which the gas would have come out. That weld would have been part of an “S” fitting with several buried pipe pieces connected to each other. The work was carried out in 1998 by Siciliana Gas, a company owned by the Sicily region.

The explosion on Saturday 11 December took place between via Trilussa and via Galilei, shortly after 8.30pm. Four buildings had been involved, two of which, according to firefighters, were “powdered.” Nine people had died and many families were left homeless.

After the explosion, some residents said there was a strong smell of gas in the days leading up to December 11th. However, there was no report to the fire department, the municipal administration or Italgas, the company that has now taken over the network.

Furthermore, a few days earlier, as carabinieri had noted, there had been a maintenance intervention on the methane network system, which, however, had not highlighted any critical issues. In the days after the explosion, Italgas had issued a note to communicate the type of intervention it was: “Only routine intervention on household meters and on some road valves. These interventions took place in the town of Ravanusa in streets far from the scene of the event. The interventions performed fall within the cyclical of planned maintenance ».

Italgas had also pointed out that the pipes in via Trilussa had been laid in 1988 and that they should not be replaced. According to Italgas, the service life of the pipes, ie. the period of use is acceptable before the deterioration begins, 60 years, and the pipes in via Trilussa were therefore in accordance with the times prescribed by ARERA (Authority Regulation for electricity, gas). and water system).

So far, a group of technicians coordinated by Antonio Barcellona, ​​professor of technologies and process systems at the Department of Chemistry, Management, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Palermo, have investigated the possible causes of the explosion. The hypothesis that the causes were related to the welds was investigated in the laboratory. The experts appointed by the lawyers for the ten people surveyed also participated in the technical analyzes: Italga’s managers and technicians, both national and regional. The criminal hypothesis is disaster and manslaughter.

Carabinieri is also examining all the evidence obtained to try to understand what would have happened in the hours prior to the explosion if the smell of gas was actually detected. However, there were no official reports of possible losses. In addition, it is also examined whether the gas inside the pipes had been treated appropriately with special additives that highlight the odor, thus making the occurrence of a possible leak more obvious.

The investigation must also determine whether the inspections have been carried out regularly over the years: Carabinieri has therefore also acquired all documentation concerning the performance of the works and the tests when the plant was handed over to Italgas. Instead, any external pressure caused by landslides in the area would have been ruled out.

Meanwhile, the so-called “relocation project” of the houses damaged or destroyed by the explosion, which will actually have to be rebuilt elsewhere, is ready. However, everything stands still because some families insist on returning to some houses that have not had structural damage. The fact is that these houses can only be declared available by the municipality’s technicians after the certificates of viability, static regularity and habitability have been presented: however, the owners are not able to have them because the properties are located in an area that has always been classified R 4, ie with high hydrogeological risk.

The Mayor of Ravanusa, Carmelo D’Angelo, said: “The final project is ready but it has been stopped because the administration wants maximum sharing with the people who lost their homes in the tragic explosion. Sharing also for those who have had minor damage but cannot return because no building interventions can be made in buildings located in an area of ​​high hydrogeological risk. There is also a discussion that has begun with the technicians designated by these individuals. In the coming days, the municipality’s technicians will meet them from the Sicilian region, and we hope for a new meeting with the governor. [della Regione Sicilia, ndr] Nello Musumeci, who has already made funds available to reach a final solution and obtain the financing, start the work and give the house back to those who have lost it ».

There are a total of 50 houses to be rebuilt, there are 130 displaced, all in rented houses so far. To pay the rents, the municipality will pay 72 thousand euros a year, also thanks to the coverage of the regional infrastructure department.

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