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APNewsBreak: California gas pipe ranked high risk

 An emergency worker walks through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a...
 Bob Vasquez, a volunteer and evacuee, helps with donation boxes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews do...
 Evacuee Les Vaccari, 78, waits for news about his home outside the evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP photo/Tony A...
 Alan Doulphus, right, a city worker, wheels out boxes of donated clothes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire...
 Evacuees Antoneeti Vaccari, left, puts a donated pair of shoe on her husband Les Vaccari outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday,...
 Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...
 Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...

Large Explosion

An emergency worker walks through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a...

Large Explosion

Bob Vasquez, a volunteer and evacuee, helps with donation boxes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews do...

Large Explosion

Evacuee Les Vaccari, 78, waits for news about his home outside the evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP photo/Tony A...

Large Explosion

Alan Doulphus, right, a city worker, wheels out boxes of donated clothes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire...

Large Explosion

Evacuees Antoneeti Vaccari, left, puts a donated pair of shoe on her husband Les Vaccari outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday,...

Large Explosion

Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...

Large Explosion

Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...

The section of gas pipeline that ruptured and exploded in a suburban San Francisco neighborhood, killing four and injuring nearly 60 others, was ranked as high risk because it ran through a highly populated area, state and federal authorities said Saturday.
One of the victims killed in the inferno Thursday worked for the commission reviewing Pacific Gas & Electric's investment plans to upgrade its natural gas lines, including another risky section of the same pipeline within miles (kilometers) of her home, a colleague confirmed.
Longtime California Public Utilities Commission analyst Jacqueline Greig and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa died in the massive blast, which left a crater near their house and laid waste to dozens of 1960s-era homes in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Jessica Morales, 20, was also killed in the explosion and fire. One other victim found earlier has yet to be identified, and authorities were trying to identify remains found Saturday morning. Two people were still missing from the blast.
Greig spent part of the summer evaluating PG&E's expansion plans and proposals to replace out-of-date pipes, as part of the utility's overall bid to raise consumers' rates, co-worker Pearlie Sabino said.
Sabino and Greig were members of a small commission team that advocates for consumer protections pertaining to natural gas.
Among the paperwork PG&E submitted for hearings with regulators was a document ranking a section of the same gas line about two and half miles (four kilometers) from the blast as within "the top 100 highest risk line sections" in the utility's entire service territory, documents show.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration classified the 30-inch (76-centimeter) diameter line, which ran for about a mile and a half (2 1/2 kilometers) in Greig's neighborhood, as a "high concentration area" requiring more stringent inspections, agency spokeswoman Julia Valentine said.
The state commission gave that section of pipe the same classification and had conducted audits on that stretch, spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said. PG&E also had conducted leak surveys, evaluations, and patrols on the gas line, she said.
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Contributing to this report were video journalist Haven Daley in San Bruno and John S. Marshall and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco. Burke reported from Fresno, California.


Updated : 2021-08-01 10:26 GMT+08:00