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Construction firm apologizes for gas line rupture in San Bruno

August 2, 2012 |  9:38 pm

Eight people were killed in 2010 when a gas line in San Bruno exploded

The owner of a contracting company responsible for a gas line rupture Thursday in San Bruno has agreed to implement tougher safety measures after hitting a line at the site of a deadly 2010 pipeline explosion, city officials said.

The company, Shaw Pipeline of San Francisco, clipped a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. gas line at Earl Avenue and Glenview Drive on Thursday morning while digging with a backhoe. The leak was reported about 10:45 a.m., a San Bruno fire official said.

PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer said gas was shut off at 11:24 a.m. As of Thursday evening, all service had been restored.

PHOTOS: San Bruno fire

Construction crews have been active in the area, rebuilding homes destroyed in the 2010 explosion, San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson told The Times. Residents were first told to stay in their homes Thursday but were later evacuated “in an abundance of caution,” she said.

On Sept. 9, 2010, a decades-old gas pipeline exploded under the suburb south of San Francisco and left a gaping crater in the street. The explosion killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.

“I offer my sincerest apologies to the citizens of San Bruno on behalf of myself, my crew and my company,” Matt Shaw, owner of the contracting company, said in a written statement. “We understand how sensitive this community still is from the PG&E explosion of September 2010, and we are deeply sorry to have caused additional and unnecessary concern.”

Shaw agreed to new safety measures, including a daily review of the layout and execution of work where crews are excavating, according to city officials. PG&E agreed to re-mark utility locations, according to a city statement.

Construction in the area has been halted until at least Monday, Jackson said.

“The neighborhood has been traumatized by a very significant incident in 2010 that makes this a high priority to assure not only that the neighborhood is rebuilt, but that it's done in a matter that doesn’t cause people additional concern or impact,” Jackson told The Times.

“There are normal standards for assuring that this type of thing doesn’t happen,” she said. “We need to redouble our efforts, and [the contractors] need to redouble their efforts.”

Shaw Pipeline has cooperated with the city, Jackson said, and has “more than adequately understood the problem.”

Jackson anticipates the company will complete the construction project, which is expected to be finished in about two months, she said. Construction work in the area continues to be on schedule, Jackson said.


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Photo: Dozens of San Bruno homes were destroyed in September 2010 in a massive explosion and fire. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images