MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Following a devastating explosion that took a River Falls, WI family’s house, homeowners Tony and Angie Plourde say a $30 natural gas detector could have prevented it all from happening.

The Plourdes miraculously survived the February home explosion, as reported by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield. The family was in the garage at the time, the only part of the house left intact. They did not know they had a gas leak.

Natural gas detectors are available at hardware stores and online, and usually cost between $30-$60. More expensive ones, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, are not more effective. A DPS spokesperson also says they are an optional purchase, based on personal preferences.

The affordable price point is one reason why homeowners opt to get a natural gas detector. They are also beneficial for homeowners who often are not home, or tend to stay in certain parts of the home away from gas lines. The device is, like any other detector, designed to alert of problems before they escalate.

Natural gas detectors will not cover everything—just leaks within its range. Also, most utility companies pump a scent into natural gas that mimics rotten eggs—meant to alert homeowners when it has escaped.

Christiane Cordero

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