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Utility agrees to $500,000 fine in fatal Pa. blast

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February 25, 2013 10:27 PM EST | AP


ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A utility has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and speed replacement of its cast-iron pipelines following an eastern Pennsylvania gas explosion that killed five people two years ago.

UGI Utilities Inc. president Robert Beard agreed to the state Public Utility Commission's order Monday in a letter that expressed "heartfelt sympathies" to the victims.

Easton's The Express-Times newspaper (http://bit.ly/VJaAtX) says the order requires the Reading (RED'-ing)-based company to replace all cast-iron pipelines within 14 years and expand testing and monitoring.

The February 2011 blast in Allentown flattened a pair of row houses and set a block of homes afire. It was traced to a crack in a cast-iron main.

Beard says the company is committed to addressing the "many significant operational challenges" facing it and others.