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Accident Investigations

Pacific Gas and Electric Company Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Rupture and Fire

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  • Accident No: DCA10MP008
  • Accident Type: Office of Pipeline
  • Location: San Bruno, CA
  • Date: 9/9/2010

On September 9, 2010, at approximately 6:11 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time), a 30-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline (Line 132) owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) ruptured in a residential area in San Bruno, California. On September 10, the NTSB launched a team to California to investigate this tragedy. Vice Chairman Christopher Hart was the NTSB Board Member on scene in San Bruno.

The rupture on Line 132 occurred near mile point (MP) 39.28, at the intersection of Earl Avenue and Glenview Drive in the city of San Bruno. Approximately 47.6 million standard cubic feet (MMSCF) of natural gas was released as a result of the rupture. The rupture created a crater approximately 72 feet long by 26 feet wide. A pipe segment approximately 28 feet long was found about 100 feet away from the crater. The released natural gas was ignited sometime after the rupture; the resulting fire destroyed 38 homes and damaged 70. Eight people were killed, numerous individuals were injured, and many more were evacuated from the area.

The Incident Command was set up by the local fire department. The immediate response by local emergency responders, as well as three strategic drops of fire retardant and water by air, assisted in stopping the spread of the fire.

Contact: NTSB Media Relations
Peter Knudson
(202) 314-6100