Electric company faces lawsuits from residents of California neighborhood destroyed by explosion

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The aftermath of the explosion on September 10 of this year which destroyed 37 homes.
Image: Mbz1.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is facing several lawsuits, including one filed by residents of San Bruno, California, after a gas line exploded in their neighborhood on September 10, completely destroying over 50 structures, 37 of them homes. In their lawsuit, residents claim that PG&E knew the pipeline was "defective" and was a "ticking time bomb". They further allege that the company was aware that the pipeline could fail, but did not act.

Cquote1.svg This wasn't an accident. This was a foreseeable consequence of ignoring safety measures Cquote2.svg

—Frank Pitre, attorney

The lawsuit was filed by at least five families who resided in the Glenview neighborhood of San Bruno. The Danko firm who is representing the residents say they expect to file at least a dozen more lawsuits against the company alleging they were liable and responsible for the explosion and the damages that occurred as a result of it. "This wasn't an accident. This was a foreseeable consequence of ignoring safety measures," one attorney representing the families said. It has also been reported that several other wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against PG&E. Three people were killed in the explosion.

The explosion and subsequent fire was originally thought to have been a downed commercial aircraft. Live scanner communications at the time of the explosion had stated that fire departments from six different companies reported to the scene. Residents say that firefighters were not able to bring the blaze under control because the pipeline was active for at least 5 hours after the explosion.

Residents filing the lawsuits are seeking damages and removal of the pipeline from the neighborhood. Jim Ruane, the mayor of San Bruno, backs residents in their request to PG&E to remove the pipeline from Glenview. "We want our neighborhood rebuilt, and we want our people back," he said. A PG&E spokesperson denied having officially received the lawsuits, but said: "We remain committed to our customers in San Bruno and will continue to be there to help rebuild the neighborhood."


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