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san bruno natural gas explosion

Workers Involved in San Bruno Pipeline Blast Were Concerned with Danger

By Kelly Balamuth on March 18, 2011

Recently released documents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show that workers who rushed to repair a gas leak last year in a San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco, knew something was wrong and were racing to stop the problem before the fatal blast occurred, according to Businessweek.

The gas leak resulted in a pipeline explosion that killed eight people, injured dozens, and left 55 homes ruined or severely damaged. As early as 30 minutes before the accident, workers knew there was a problem on the high-pressure gas transmission lines, according to the documents. However, they felt it was almost impossible to fix the problem.

According to investigators, there was a power failure at a control station about 30 miles from where the explosion occurred. That power failure resulted in a regulating valve opening fully, causing gas pressure to rise. Investigators also found many defects and cracks in the welds that held together segments of the pipeline that exploded.

Compressed gases, such as the gas in the pipeline, are a common safety hazard, particularly in industrial and manufacturing environments. Compressed gases can cause a variety of accidents, such as the explosion that occurred in San Bruno. A common danger arises from compressed gases that aren’t properly capped. Because many compressed gases are flammable, they also pose a big fire risk if not properly contained.

Have you been injured as the result of an accident caused by a compressed gas? If so, you may be able to recover for your injuries. Contact the Northern California compressed gases hazards attorneys at Balamuth Harrington at 888-254-1234.

Thousands of Miles of Natural Gas Piping, Like that in San Bruno, Run Underneath CA

By Kelly Balamuth on September 29, 2010

In response to the recent explosion tragedy in San Bruno, the Los Angeles Times has written an informative article regarding the thousands of miles worth of piping that runs throughout the state of California. Reportedly, the potential for a disaster like the one that took the lives of at least seven people in San Bruno is relatively high, especially because multiple fault lines run throughout the state and earthquakes can quickly spark these explosions. Numerous precautions are taken to ensure that these pipes don’t fail, but disrepair remains.

Steel piping which is high-pressure tested and often as wide as truck tires is used throughout the state as the highways for natural gas transport. The gas that runs along these highways can be as dense as 1,400 pounds per square inch. According to the article, these pipelines are sometimes laid a mere three feet below the ground in some locations, particularly in dense urban areas. Cracks in the piping can seriously jeopardize the structure’s integrity, and can quickly lead to accidents such as the San Bruno explosion. To make matters worse, certain companies, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, the company responsible for maintaining the San Bruno piping, currently have spotty safety records and have been deemed responsible for explosion accidents in the past, albeit none as deadly as the recent San Bruno incident.

Questions are now arising as to whether or not safety standards are stringent enough to ensure the safety of all Californians. Accidents should never occur due to the negligence of the company responsible for the gas lines. In the event that a company is deemed to have been negligent, San Mateo county personal injury accident victims may be able to hold that company accountable for its actions and seek compensatory damages for injuries sustained due to the accident.

The Northern California personal injury attorneys at Balamuth Harrington, LLP represent injured people. For more information about accident victims’ rights in Northern California, please call our office today at 888-254-1234 for a free consultation.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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