Gas rupture around site of '10 blast in San Bruno

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Associated Press

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 2 at 5:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 2-inch plastic gas pipe ruptured Thursday in the same San Francisco suburb where a pipeline explosion killed eight people in 2010, prompting more than a dozen homes to be briefly evacuated.

The distribution main line burst around 10:45 a.m. Thursday when a private contractor working for the city of San Bruno struck the pipe with a backhoe in the Crestmoor neighborhood, at the same intersection where the previous blast occurred, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokeswoman Brittany Chord said.

PG&E crews were on-scene by 11 a.m. and stopped the gas flow in less than half an hour, Chord said.

"We worked very closely with our first responders on the scene to shut the gas off as quickly as possible," Chord said.

She added the line was not fitted with excess flow valves, which are designed to trip automatically when there is a break in a distribution line, the narrow-diameter pipes that serve individual homes and businesses.

San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson said about 14 homes were evacuated for about 30 minutes, largely because the winds began to pick up in the area.

The construction job that caused the break in the line has been halted, and city officials will investigate how it was hit and adopt precautions so the construction can resume, Jackson said.

The explosion of a high-pressure transmission line on Sept. 9, 2010, sparked a gas-fueled fire that destroyed 38 homes and laid waste to parts of the same neighborhood.

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Associated Press writer Terry Collins also contributed to this report.

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