Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

PG&E official says investigators will look into reports that residents smelled gas before massive San Bruno fire

September 10, 2010 | 12:17 am

San Bruno Blaze

The president of Pacific Gas and Electric said Thursday night that investigators would look into reports that residents smelled gas in the days preceding the huge explosion and massive fire that is raging across 10 acres in a San Bruno residential neighborhood.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Chris Johns said the utility had not received any reports of gas odors but he said that the company was ready to cooperate with state and federal officials who will probe the cause of the blaze that left at least one person dead and destroyed and damaged dozens of homes in the city south of San Francisco.

The utility acknowledged that one of its pipes ruptured in the area of the blaze. Johns said PG&E "would do the right thing for everyone involved" if investigators determine that it was responsible for the devastation. "The right thing is we will be accountable," he said.

Late Thursday, acting Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency in San Mateo County, which will free up assistance to the area.

Click on the following link for a Times photo gallery of the San Bruno blaze.

--Lee Romney in San Francisco and Robert J. Lopez in Los Angeles

Photo: Huge wall of flame ravages San Bruno. Credit: Dan Honda/Contra Costa Times.