Unfortunately, for some people... this entire natural gas leak nightmare unfolding in northwest Dallas is a Iittle more than a numbers game.

For more than a decade, our WFAA Investigates team has reported on deteriorating parts of natural gas pipelines that in our shifting Texas soil create conditions that might result in fires, house explosions, injuries... even death.

In that time, some have accused us of scapegoating Atmos and the Railroad Commission of Texas, which is supposed to oversee these utilities, arguing there is no imminent danger from declining parts. The cost of replacing them would run into the millions.

No question it would cost a lot of money, but now we've learned again the cost of not replacing them. Linda "Michellita" Rogers, 12, paid it when her house erupted and took her life.

So did others in her family, hurt in the blast, and still others in other cities injured over the years, when similar explosions tore their homes apart.

And it's still not over, it seems every day in this latest round, the number of families displaced or affected by newly discovered leaks has grown nearly 3,000 now.

That's a number you won't hear much from those who play the numbers game. We need good, safe natural gas. But If we've learned anything from all of this... it is that no matter what, we will pay a cost to be safe. The question is how will we pay? …in money? ...or in lives?