You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Con’t …Sep 2nd, 2011 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
So on Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board releases its report detailing its investigation into last year’s natural gas explosion in San Bruno. The document is devastating to PG&E, citing the utility for a culture of mismanagement and and an overall lackadaisical approach to pipeline safety issues.
And 24 hours after that report came out, it happened again.
Yesterday, a massive explosion destroyed a condo in Cupertino, CA, in the heart of northern California’s Silicon Valley. It took PG&E crews nearly an hour and a half to shut off the gas to the pipeline that exploded, and when crews finally did get in to investigate, they found no fewer than seven leaks in the lines running into and out of the building.
From a story by the San Francisco Chronicle:
Santa Clara County fire Capt. Gil Smith said he had arrived soon after the blast to see that the garage door of the condo unit was blown off and several rooms were in flames. The blaze inside was quickly put out, but the fire continued to burn at spots near where the gas was leaking in front of the unit, he said.
Smith said PG&E crews had to dig with a backhoe in three places on the line before finally managing to pinch off the gas flow. The Fire Department’s chief, Ken Kehmna, said PG&E did not have a nearby central shutoff valve that could stop the flow quickly.
A spokesperson for the NTSB told the Chronicle that the agency would investigate the Cupertino blast even though there were no fatalities, in light of their recent report.
“We are going to look at any commonalities this may have had with other investigations,” Nantel told the Chronicle, “and will take any appropriate follow-up action. Given our recent experience with investigating accidents in California, we think this is an appropriate level of involvement.”