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Properties and Characteristics of Natural Gas

Flammability and ignition hazards

Natural gas is extremely flammable. This makes it an excellent fuel. It also means that first responders must exercise extreme caution to prevent ignition hazards in the area near any natural gas leak.

Natural gas will only ignite when there is an air-and-gas mixture between 5 and 15 percent natural gas. A small spark from any of the following sources can ignite leaking natural gas:

  • Telephones, cell phones and pagers
  • Doorbells and wall switches
  • Flashlights
  • Any type of electronic ignition
  • Static electricity
  • Running engines (gasoline, diesel or electric)
  • Motors, refrigerators, appliances and pilot lights

Do NOT attempt to extinguish a natural gas fire unless lives are in danger. Burning natural gas will not cause an explosion. Extinguishing a natural gas fire may cause the building or room space to fill with unburned gas, creating an explosion hazard.