Fire chief unaware of gas line before explosion

AP News
Posted: Mar 02, 2011 12:12 PM
Fire chief unaware of gas line before explosion

The San Bruno, California, fire chief says his department had no idea there was a large gas transmission pipeline in its midst before it exploded last September, killing eight people and destroying dozens of homes.

Dennis Haag told a National Transportation Safety Board hearing Wednesday that Pacific Gas and Electric, which owned the line, had not told the fire department about it nor provided a map showing its location.

He acknowledged his department hadn't made use of a federal website that provides first responders with maps of gas lines in their community.

When the pipeline exploded, residents of the San Francisco suburb mistakenly thought a plane had crashed.

NTSB investigators said a lack of public awareness about pipelines underneath their communities has been a recurring problem in accidents.