Friday, September 10, 2010

Should San Bruno investigators look to Rancho Cordova? Jerry Hill thinks so.

San Bruno Views shared Assemblyman Jerry Hill's thoughts on the gas explosion in San Bruno, California. (See my previous post.) Hill's statement, which can also be found on Hill's website, includes a link to a National Transportation Safety Board accident report (PDF) concerned a December 24, 2008 explosion in Rancho Cordova, California. While PG&E personnel investigated a report of a leak on the morning of the 24th, the NTSB stated that personnel were improperly trained on the procedures to follow, and that a person died as a result of this. There were also concerns about piping material. The report, written just a few months ago, concluded:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the December 24, 2008, release, ignition, and explosion of natural gas in Rancho Cordova, California, was the use of a section of unmarked and out-of-specification polyethylene pipe with inadequate wall thickness that allowed gas to leak from the mechanical coupling installed on September 21, 2006. Contributing to the accident was the 2-hour 47-minute delay in the arrival at the job site of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company crew that was properly trained and equipped to identify and classify outdoor leaks and to begin response activities to ensure the safety of the residents and public.

The whole episode caused Jerry Hill to declare:

“The residents of San Bruno deserve to know if PG&E used the correct procedures in the days and weeks leading up to this disaster,” Hill said. “State and federal investigators need to determine if PG&E personnel had the proper training and equipment and whether or not this disaster could have been prevented.”

Presumably this will be investigated in the upcoming weeks, especially since SFist reports something else that concerned Jerry Hill:

San Mateo Assemblyman Jerry Hill, according to reports, "said he was 'outraged' to learn that some residents had complained to PG&E about gas leaks in the neighborhood 'for up to three weeks' before the explosion."

Not that SFist is jumping to any conclusions, but the name of the page that includes this report is "pge_at_fault_for_san_bruno_explosio.php" - well, at least it wasn't called "pge_murders_in_san_bruno.php" or anything like that.
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