Sheriff disputes utility account of what caused explosion

AP News
Posted: Apr 21, 2015 12:37 AM

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A California sheriff is disputing an account that suggests a county worker using heavy equipment ruptured a gas pipeline that runs through a gun range, triggering an explosion last week that injured 11 people.

The Fresno Bee reports ( that Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Monday the county equipment operator was smoothing dirt, not digging, near the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. natural gas line that ruptured on Friday. PG&E said Sunday it appears the vehicle damaged the 12-inch pipeline.

Mims adds that the loader was merely driving on the road near the berm when the gas line ruptured.

The explosion at a gun range owned by the Sheriff's Foundation occurred while a county employee was using a front-loader to build a dirt berm to confine gunfire to the range.