California Gas Pipe Ranked as High Risk

Saturday, 11 Sep 2010 09:36 PM

 

Share:
A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — The section of gas pipeline that ruptured and exploded in a suburban San Francisco neighborhood, killing four and injuring nearly 60 others, was ranked as high risk because it ran through a highly populated area, state and federal authorities said Saturday.

One of the victims killed in the inferno Thursday worked for the commission reviewing Pacific Gas & Electric's investment plans to upgrade its natural gas lines, including another risky section of the same pipeline within miles of her home, a colleague confirmed.

Longtime California Public Utilities Commission analyst Jacqueline Greig and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa died in the massive blast, which left a crater near their house and laid waste to dozens of 1960s-era homes in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Jessica Morales, 20, was also killed in the explosion and fire. One other victim found earlier has yet to be identified, and authorities were trying to identify remains found Saturday morning. Two people were still missing from the blast.

Greig spent part of the summer evaluating PG&E's expansion plans and proposals to replace out-of-date pipes, as part of the utility's overall bid to raise consumers' rates, co-worker Pearlie Sabino said.

Sabino and Greig were members of a small commission team that advocates for consumer protections pertaining to natural gas.

"It's just so shocking because she was one of the ones who was most closely involved with this kind of work," said Mike Florio, an attorney with the San Francisco advocacy group The Utility Reform Network who worked with Greig. "Little did we know that pipe was near Jackie's own neighborhood."

Among the paperwork PG&E submitted for hearings with regulators was a document ranking a section of the same gas line about two and half miles from the blast as within "the top 100 highest risk line sections" in the utility's entire service territory, documents show.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration classified the 30-inch diameter line, which ran for about a mile and a half in Greig's neighborhood, as a "high concentration area" requiring more stringent inspections, agency spokeswoman Julia Valentine said.

The state commission gave that section of pipe the same classification and had conducted audits on that stretch, spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said. PG&E also had conducted leak surveys, evaluations, and patrols on the gas line, she said.

A group of local, state and federal officials toured the damaged area Saturday and described a ghost-town full of remnants of cars melted in driveways and pieces of houses, some left with just the chimney standing.

Besides the 40 homes leveled by the blast, seven were severely damaged, while dozens of other houses suffered less severe damage in the fire that sped across 15 acres.

Residents of roughly 270 homes that have been off-limits following the blaze will be allowed to return for good starting around noon on Sunday, San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson said. Some residents were authorized to enter a limited area Saturday to retrieve belongings.

Michelle Salinda's home was destroyed in the fire, but her husband, Ricardo, and 15-year-old son were able to escape. She said she wants to return to what's left of her home to find closure.

"I can't wait to see it, even though it's all destroyed, because I know that's where I am going to start again," she said.

Ricardo Salinda described a harrowing scene as he and his son escaped from a 200-foot fireball racing toward the front door of their home. The two suffered burns as they fled the flames.

They used a ladder to scale a neighbor's fence but it was too hot there, and Salinda said he lifted his 120-pound son over the next fence and scrambled after him.

"I don't know how I was able to lift him," he said. "It's a blessing we got out."

___

Contributing to this report were video journalist Haven Daley in San Bruno and John S. Marshall and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco. Burke reported from Fresno, Calif.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Va. GOP Can't See End to Medicaid Standoff, Fears Loss of Bond Rating

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 15:17 PM

If leading Virginia Republicans are right, the battle over Medicaid expansion could leave the state wounded. Virginia Ho . . .

Bridge-gate Legal Fees Running Up to $340 an Hour for NJ Taxpayers

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 14:27 PM

New Jersey taxpayers are shelling out as much as $340 an hour for lawyers to represent five present or former staffers o . . .

Art Critic: Bush a Better Artist Than Thomas Kinkade

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 14:17 PM

Late "painter of light" Thomas Kinkade was a better technical painter than former President George W. Bush, says art cri . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved