Finding Out What Happened in San Bruno

By Debbie Hersman

Firefighters approach the San Bruno fire

Last year, on the evening of September 9, 2010, Line 132 of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s natural gas transmission pipeline in San Bruno, California, ruptured. The escaping gas — enough gas to power 1,200 residential households for one year — created an inferno that fatally injured eight people, injured 58, destroyed 38 homes, and damaged 70 others.

Tomorrow, the NTSB will meet to discuss the final report prepared by the team who has been investigating this accident for nearly a year. It’s been a difficult investigation, especially since the pipe that ruptured dates back more than half a century and getting accurate information on the line has been a challenge.

While the San Bruno community has been working together to recover and rebuild, the NTSB’s role is to find out what happened and make recommendations to ensure that future tragedies are prevented. We have already issued 10 recommendations as a result of our work on this accident. Tomorrow we will approve our final report and make additional recommendations with the hope that the lessons of San Bruno are well-learned and are never repeated.

You can watch the meeting live via webcast on Aug. 30 starting at 9:30 a.m. We will also post a synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, conclusions, and a complete list of all the safety recommendations on our website following the meeting.

4 thoughts on “Finding Out What Happened in San Bruno”

  1. As a student in ERAU and studying a minor in Aviation Safety I look forward to this report and reading through the facts page. I have quite a bit of family that live in San Bruno and I will pass the information on to them.

  2. I’ve read most of the NTSB Pipeline Accident Reports from over the years, and I think the San Bruno report has the most NTSB recommendations from a single pipeline accident ever. I am reading where PHMSA is hesitant to make stricter pipeline rules, a House member from PA made a bill to make current pipeline laws weaker, and several pipeline trade groups don’t want stricter rules.

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