Plumbing in the Home/gas left on-help

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Question
Hi,
This might be a strange question.  My mother used my old stove today.  She left the gas on from one of the hubs.  She put it on low and the flame blew out.  This was about 5pm.  After she left, I had a relaxing bath, lit a couple candles and soaked for about 1hr.  I had no idea the gas was on 'til about 6.30pm when I could smell it coming from the kitchen.  I am now plagued with thoughts of 'what if'.  Could there have been an explosion?  My house is a smallish, 3 bedroom (about 15sqm).  It's just me and my dog in the house and he seems to be fine.  I'm airing the place out as we speak, but my main concern is whether we could have burned to death.  
Many thanks

Answer
Yes, that was a possibility.
Fortunately Natural Gas is lighter than air and rises upwards but still the gas can get trapped in any confined space such as the ceiling of a room. If that happens it could be deadly if a spark from an electrical light socket or some other appliance ignited the gas. Hopefully there is a hood over your range as this(your range/oven) is the most likely place for gas to inadvertently escape and the gas will escape through the hood. STILL you should call your gas company and explain what happened. They will give you some safety hints or suggestions.
Propane and/or butane are heavier than air and will fall to the floor thus creating a greater possibility of an explosion as a heavy concentration of gas will accumulate and as soon as it fills enough of the space to reach a standing pilot or any ignition source there will be a catastrophe.
Again, Natural gas is relatively safe but still very dangerous. Propane or Butane is much more dangerous as it will accumulate and not be easily disbursed.
Please take all the precautions you can. Please contact your Gas Company and explain what happened and seek their advice on how this type of situation might be prevented or further mitigated.  

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Cortez (cort) Cate

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PLEASE read this entire introduction. I have been doing this for a long time and I have come to the conclusion that if you are not willing to take the time to write a detailed question then don't expect a detailed solution! I am getting far to many questions that do not give enough detail to warrant a good solution. I realize it is a little difficult to formulate a good question but if you want a good answer you have to give me good details....read this entire introduction please....remember this website is world wide I have no clue where you live if you don't tell me.....to give more detail on the fixture you are having problems with...a one piece eljer 3.5 gallon flush will be totally different than a one-gallon flush toto.....details are important. I can answer most questions related to residential and commercial plumbing for many buildings. I have sufficient knowledge of the UPC and UMC. I will speculate for you if necessary. In those cases I will try to give you some guidance and you should use that to refine the question further and we, together, can seek the answer via a follow up. Plumbing codes and practices vary around the world--If you don't tell me where you live the answer I give may not fit your locality. I am giving my time to you as a way of fulfilling my perceived obligation to share. I am here to try to help you find a solution to your problem. REMEMBER, If you want a good answer you need to ask a detailed question and include where you live, type of pipes, type of building, water pressure if it is a water problem, type of heater, age of appliance & building all these and many more are variables that have an effect on various situations. Detailed information will help produce a better answer.

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Since 1972 a California licensed B-1 General Building Contractor, C-36 Plumbing and C-16 Fire Sprinkler Contractor; also installing and servicing Heating, Air Conditioning and Sheet Metal operating as C and C Building and Plumbing, California State License 279516. In 1995 I downsized the company to become semi-retired. Still I remain active in the construction industry. As head of a company I placed personnel and job safety as the number one objective followed closely by training and continuing education. Always seeking to stay informed of leading edge technology in the industry. Also I have spent several years as an Apprenticeship Instructor in the Pipe Trades Unions. Additionally I am a certified OSHA instructor.

Education/Credentials
United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Instruction Training, Ann Arbor, MI Bakersfield College, Bakersfield CA Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA Foothill College, Los Altos, CA California Licensed Contractor from 1971

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