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NTSB says Poorly Built Pipe Caused Explosion

Posted on September 16, 2011 to

Roger Johnson

On September 9, 2010, a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California, killed eight people. The blast was so powerful that residents thought it was an earthquake or an airplane crash. Now, an investigation and subsequent report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says poor pipe welding by Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) caused the fatal blast, according to sanbruno.patch.com.

Last month, TSB investigators revealed their findings at a hearing in Washington, D.C.. The specific faulty pipe was actually comprised of several shorter pipe segments welded together. The welding job was inadequate and allowed 47 million cubic-feet of gas to escape. Representatives from PGE said that a portion of the pipe came from Consolidated Western, which is partly to blame for the explosion, said PGE.

However, a NTSB member said where the pipe came from is insignificant. It was PGE’s responsibility to operate and maintain the pipeline, said the NTSB member. Among other causes, the report found that PGE’s poor record keeping and poor management program led to the pipeline explosion. The NTSB report found that PGE got around federal pipeline safety rules because PGE installed many of its pipelines before the rules became effective.

Witnesses said the blast had a wall of fire over 1,000 feet high. The blast produced a fire that destroyed several surrounding houses.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

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