Several agencies investigating San Bruno gas leak


The broken 2-inch plastic natural gas line was crimped off and the leak sealed within about a half-hour from the break. 14 homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

PG&E says the gas line was clearly marked but that Shaw Construction, the contractor hired by the city to install new water lines, was digging with a backhoe instead of by hand as recommended, "We'll do a full investigation to find out exactly what happened," PG&E spokesperson Joe Molica said.

Deputy Chief Dave Downing says the fire department got the call just after 10:45 a.m., "It's a very sensitive area. And, you know, I think everyone's hearts dropped when they heard there was a gas line break at Earl and Glenview which is right near ground zero."

Near ground zero is an understatement. It was September 2010 when a 36-inch transmission line with bad welds ruptured and ignited a fire that killed eight people, destroyed 38 homes, and damaged many more.

The neighborhood is still recovering and so are the victims, both emotionally and physically. It seemed impossible to them that today's break was in virtually the exact same spot.

Clarence Press lives a couple hundred feet from the site. He couldn't believe it when firefighters knocked on his door to evacuate Thursday, "Sort of like the dogs were looking at me and I was looking at them. I didn't really know what to think. It really didn't smell like gas. Well, that old expression of déjà vu all over again? I didn't know what was going to happen."

In addition to PG&E, the CPUC is also investigating, as is the City of San Bruno.

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