As the victims of Thursday's San Bruno fire mourn their losses, Pacific Gas & Electric reps say they still don’t know what caused a high-pressure gas pipeline to rupture. But could PG&E itself be to blame? The company has been involved in almost half of California’s major natural gas pipeline accidents over the last decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. PG&E owns about 40% of the pipelines in the state and serves the most ratepayers and the largest territory.
PG&E pipelines were involved in 43 of the 87 accidents over the past 10 years, but 11 of those were caused by people digging into buried lines. Natural forces including floods and earthquakes, as well as problems like bad welds, corrosion, and equipment malfunctions, can also cause ruptures. Investigators will look at the pipeline’s age, maintenance history, and operations. Said a state assemblyman, "State and federal investigators need to determine if PG&E personnel had the proper training and equipment and whether or not this disaster could have been prevented.”
(Read more San Bruno explosion stories.)