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Lehigh Valley

Moore Township looks to keep a closer eye on propane companies after blast

But state law prevents local regulations, inspections

MOORE, TWP. Pa. - In the aftermath of a fatal explosion caused by a liquid propane leak at a Moore Township mobile home park, township officials said Tuesday night they do not have the authority to inspect or regulate propane tanks.

Officials said a 2002 state law called The Propane and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act is preventing them from having such oversight.

"There's not a lot the supervisors can do," David Backenstoe, the township solicitor, told the solicitor's at a meeting Tuesday night.

He said the law basically ties the hands of local government.

Though the township does not have the authority to regulate the people who are installing propane tanks at Hickory Hills, Backenstoe said the township is asking the seven companies who service the mobile home park to voluntarily provide the township copies of the certifications they hold that show workers are qualified to perform installations safely.

"They all agreed to do it," Backenstoe said. "It would be nice if we had them on file here," Backenstoe said. "And that's exactly what the township intends to do."

On Feb. 14, William D. Neith, a 65-year-old resident of the mobile home park, was killed in his home by an explosion that state police said was caused by a propane leak.

The home at 118 Hickory Hills Drive was also destroyed by the fire that followed the huge blast.

A relative of Neith said Neith had been having heating problems and had smelled gas days before the explosion.

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