Suspected Section of Pipe in San Bruno Fire Known to be a Problem

Update on the San Bruno Natural Gas Explosion

New information in the San Bruno natural gas explosion that killed 4, left 3 missing, and injured others indicates the section of pipe that exploded was part of a line that ranked in the top 100 “highest risk line sections.” In fact, three years ago PG&E asked state regulators for permission to spend $4.87 million in order to replace a portion of pipe in South San Francisco that is part of the same line that exploded in San Bruno. Additionally, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, it was learned that last year, PG&E suggested upgrading a portion of the same line 8 miles south of where it exploded in San Bruno. At a cost of $13 million, PG&E wanted to upgrade the line along 32 miles of pipe, all the way to the south to Milpitas.

Upgrading the Gas Line – An Important Project Moved Down the List

Needless to say, neither project was started or completed. In fact, the South San Francisco project was moved down the list of priorities and the money allocated elsewhere. Currently, the project slated to upgrade the line to the south down to Milpitas is still waiting for approval by state regulators. As a result of last week’s explosion has led some critics of PG&E to wonder if the San Bruno explosion could have been avoided had either of these projects gone forward.

Although Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the NTSB, indicated the section of pipe that exploded was not “piggable” – that is, it was too narrow to allow camera and inspection equipment to be used on it – others have wondered whether or not other problems could have still been discovered. Mike Florio, a senior staff attorney for The Utility Reform Network, suggested if the work had been done problems might have been uncovered on the ageing gas pipeline. In fact, PG&E wanted to install new valves and make a number of upgrades along the pipeline in question so a pig could be used to inspect the safety of the line in the future.

Liability and Foreknowledge – Tough Questions for PG&E

While more information continues to come to light, PG&E may have had foreknowledge of certain dangers associated with the gas line that exploded, increasing their liability for the disaster. If they knew of certain kinds of dangers and hazards and did not act to remove them, they could be held liable for a failing to act on their duty of care towards homeowners in the area. In the case of the explosion, even though PG&E did not directly cause it by striking a line, they failed to act on their foreknowledge of dangers associated with the explosion. As a result, their failure to remove these dangers may constitute negligence on their part.

Contact San Bruno Gas Explosion Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

As investigators continue to determine what happened and why, it’s important to have an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who can protect your rights and interests in any discussions with insurance companies, investigators, or other lawyers. At Weber & Nierenberg we have represented numerous clients in cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning and burn injuries. We understand the issues involved when dealing with negligence on the part of a public utility – especially involving natural gas.

For more information regarding our practice or to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation, call San Bruno gas explosion attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg at 415-788-3900 today or email us and we will respond shortly.

Officials Investigate Segmented Pipe in San Bruno Explosion

Possible Negligence in San Bruno Fire

As officials from the NTSB and PG&E continue their investigation into the cause of the San Bruno gas explosion, state investigators have turned their attention to a segmented pipe that had been classified as “high risk” due to its proximity to homes in the area. Responsible for the deaths of at least four people, destroying and damaging several homes, and injuring 60 people, the cause of the San Bruno gas explosion isn’t yet clear. However, several people reported smelling gas in the area days before the explosion.

Section of Segmented Pipe Attracts Attention of Investigators

The section of pipe in question consists of 28-foot section that isn’t solid and seamless but rather appears to be made up of segments welded together. Concerned that a pipe made up of segmented sections is more prone to leaks, corrosion, and wear, the NTSB has asked PG&E to explain why they would use a pipe constructed in this way as part of a gas line. The pipeline that exploded appears to have been installed in 1956 when there were fewer homes in the area.

As population in the area increased, more homes were built nearer to the gas line, resulting in its “high risk” designation. As a result, the line was not outfitted with automatic shut-off valves but manual ones. Christopher Hart, Vice Chairman of the NTSB, has indicated they will be looking closely at what role the manual shut-off valve may have played in the explosion.

Liability, Injury Claims, and the San Bruno Gas Explosion

While investigators continue to determine the cause of the San Bruno natural gas explosion, it’s important for effected homeowners and injury victims to contact their insurance carrier and an attorney. Even though initial information indicates PG&E may have acted negligently in not properly responding to earlier reports of the smell of gas, someone digging in the area may have caused the explosion. As a result, responsibility for the San Bruno gas explosion may be attributable to a contractor, homeowner, PG&E or a combination of all three. Here, legal issues surrounding liability and subrogation can complicate issues and create unnecessary difficulties for injured people and homeowners trying to recover what they’ve lost.

Legal Representation – Protecting Your Interests and Rights

In order to protect your interests and rights, it’s important to work with an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who can ensure your insurance company honors all of their commitments in a timely, transparent manner. Additionally, taking photos of your property and documenting your injuries are also important should the need to go to trial arise at some point in the future.

With four office locations throughout the Bay Area – San Francisco, Oakland, San Rafael, and San Jose – the personal injury law office of Weber & Nierenberg has helped countless people and families recover compensation for injuries and property loss. We’ve represented a number of clients in cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning and understand the issues involved in the maintenance and installation of natural gas pipelines.

For more information regarding our practice or to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation, call San Bruno gas explosion attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg at 415-788-3900 or toll free at 1-866-288-6010 today. If you prefer you can email us and we will contact you shortly.

 
 
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