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NTSB says it could be up to 18 months before report is issued determining cause of San Bruno gas explosion

September 10, 2010 |  5:33 pm

A National Transportation Safety Board official said it could be "14, 16, 18 months" before a report is issued determining the cause of the deadly gas explosion in San Bruno that killed four people and destroyed 38 homes.

Christopher Hart, vice chairman of the federal board tasked with investigating the incident, said eight investigators are on the scene. They toured the neighborhood Friday afternoon and will spend several days on the scene.

"We will not be determining probable cause while we are here on scene," Hart said.

Their job, Hart said, is to determine cause -- not blame or liability.

The explosion of a 30-inch transmission line of seamless carbon steel left behind massive damage. One section of the pipeline was blown out onto the nearby street.

"That reflects the enormity of the explosion," Hart said, describing the neighborhood as "an amazing scene of destruction."

Hart said one issue the agency would be looking in to is whether Pacific Gas & Electric has been cited by any other agency regarding the pipeline.

-- Paloma Esquivel in San Bruno