Community | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Cairo Residents Respond to Gas Line Explosion Investigation Findings

By: Caroline Gonzmart Email
By: Caroline Gonzmart Email

When you talk to Cairo residents about the gas explosion that happened over 4 months ago, it's as though no time has passed at all.

Mody Robinson lives less than 200 yards from where the explosion happened, and she can still recall it vividly:

"I heard a boom - a bang - I ran out into the driveway, and all I could see was fire."

Cairo utilities workers were replacing a portion of corroded gas piping at the intersection of 4th Street NW and 4th Ave NW when still-blowing gas ignited, then exploded, killing crewman Wendell Harrison and badly burning 3 other workers.

Robinson's son, Rhoderick Robinson, called 911 after assisting elderly neighbors, and he says the explosion was felt far beyond its physical parameters:

"It hurt everybody - it hurt because we knew the dude, you know, and he was classmates with my brother."

Following the incident, the Georgia Public Service Commission conducted an in-depth investigation - and its findings were unsettling: the City of Cairo had committed many 'probable violations', including lack of proper training, and failure to develop and follow emergency procedures.

WCTV reached out to city of Cairo for a comment, but our calls were never returned.

Now, residents' grief has turned to disappointment and anger after learning the accident could have been prevented with a little more training.

Robinson reflected:

"He didn't know he was going to get killed, you know, but still, they should've trained better and had on better equipment.

But despite the why or how, people say one thing is certain - Harrison's death should be the last, and will hopefully be a catalyst for better policy and training in Cairo.


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