November 25th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Human error blamed in gas explosion at strip club

Human error is to blame in last week's gas-fueled explosion that ripped through a strip club in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield, officials said Sunday.

The blast injured at least 21 people, including firefighters.

A utility worker, responding to a report of a gas odor inside a building, inadvertently punctured a hole in a high-pressure gas line at the foundation of that building, according to a statement from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Markings on the sidewalk incorrectly indicated where the line was.

Once the pipe was punctured, the worker called the gas company and the fire department to shut off the gas, and the area around the building was evacuated. Investigators believe gas from the leak entered the building and later ignited.

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Filed under: Energy • Gas pipeline • Massachusetts • Natural gas explosion
December 13th, 2011
06:44 PM ET

Gas utility says it will compensate victims of 2010 San Bruno blast

Pacific Gas & Electric Company said Tuesday that it is liable for the San Bruno, California, pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes in September 2010, and will compensate the victims.

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Filed under: California • Gas pipeline
Oscars: "Gasland" director and movie star take on Washington
A scene from the documentary "Gasland."
February 27th, 2011
01:57 PM ET

Oscars: "Gasland" director and movie star take on Washington

A man who lives in Colorado sticks a lighter under his kitchen faucet. He places the flame into the streaming tap water, and a ball of fire leaps up, nearly burning him.

"This is something we did over and over again in gas drilling areas," said documentary filmmaker Josh Fox. His movie "Gasland," nominated for an Academy Award, contains interviews with people from across the United States who say a new form of natural gas drilling has threatening consequences. Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo has joined Fox. Ruffalo lives in New York, which began to take a close look at fracking last year.

An animation of the fracking process, and the stories of people who say it is ruining their lives, can be found in CNN's special coverage on the issue.

Read more about documentaries nominated for a golden statue Sunday.

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Filed under: Environment • Gas pipeline • Natural gas explosion • Showbiz
Oil to flow again through Trans Alaska pipeline
January 17th, 2011
02:07 AM ET

Oil to flow again through Trans Alaska pipeline

The Trans Alaska pipeline is expected to return to full service this week after a leak near Prudhoe Bay brought the flow of oil to a stop this month, a company spokeswoman said.

"We are in the final stages of the bypass line," said Alyeska Pipeline Service Company spokeswoman Megan Egan.

The 800-mile line was shut down January 8 when a leak was found during an inspection of a pump house. The pipeline was then reopened from January 11-15 to flush remaining oil from the line.

When the pumping resumes, the flow will start at about 500,000 barrels of oil a day - about three-quarters of normal flow - and then move to its full capacity, Egan said.

The pipeline's daily average output is about 642,000 barrels, according to the company website.

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Filed under: Alaska • Gas pipeline
November 2nd, 2010
02:30 PM ET

Man dubbed hero in Manchester borough blast

Firefighters comb through the rubble of homes destroyed in the Tuesday blast in Salford.

Local media are declaring Vincent Jones a hero after he pulled a woman and her toddler from the wreckage of a collapsed home in a Manchester, England, borough on Tuesday.

At least 14 people, five of them children, were injured in a gas explosion in Salford that destroyed three homes, the Manchester Evening News reported. One of those injured is a 76-year-old woman who suffered 30 percent burns after her house collapsed. City West, which owns the properties, told the newspaper it was working on the houses which exploded.

Leon Barker, the father of a 3-year-old with a suspected skull fracture, cried as he recounted to the paper how the blast, which could be heard 10 miles away, woke him up.

"It was like a dream. One minute I was asleep and the next I was standing on the roof of my house searching through rubble for my kids," he said.

His 8- and 11-year-old children escaped with minor injuries.


October 26th, 2010
02:39 PM ET

Utility finds 38 leaks in gas transmission lines

In the wake of the September gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and leveled part of a neighborhood in San Bruno, California, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it has found 38 leaks in California that require immediate attention.

And its pipeline survey is just getting started.

The company is using aerial laser detection technology as well as traditional ground patrols to search for leaks, starting in heavily populated areas. It expects to complete the survey in December.

Four of the 38 leaks have been repaired, the company said.

PG&E says it also is evaluating 300 locations where it might be able to swap out manual valves for automated or remotely controlled ones, making it possible to shut off gas more quickly and avoid disaster in case of a pipeline rupture.

The information came in a set of updates PG&E submitted Monday to the California Public Utilities Commission, which had no immediate reaction.

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Filed under: California • Gas pipeline • U.S.
September 20th, 2010
09:43 PM ET

Exploded gas pipeline wasn't on list of most risky segments

A vintage segment of gas pipeline that exploded earlier this month was not on a list of the Pacific Gas & Electric's top 100 risky pipeline segments, the president of the company said Monday.

The 30-inch pipe that exploded in San Bruno, California, on September 9, killing four people, was laid in 1948, the same year a segment just two miles away - one that was on the top 100 list - was laid.

"That segment of pipe?" PG&E president Chris Johns said, referring to the San Bruno segment. "It was not on the top 100 list."

"We were not aware of anything in this particular area that met the criteria of what would have put it on the list," Johns told reporters.

Johns said the list is used for planning purposes and can change.


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Filed under: California • Gas pipeline