A PG&E gas line exploded in Fresno on Friday. The line apparently wasn't where it was supposed to be. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it was ". . . closer to the surface than anyone realized."
The scary part is that isn't an unusual situation. Many of the maps are out of date, the pipes have been moved or the ground has shifted.
I had a similar situation with a gas line three years ago. A new fence was put in between my house and my neighbor's. The fence company hit a gas line while digging a post hole. I was surprised to find that gas lines are not metal pipes anymore, but a flexible plastic-like material that puncture easily.
PG&E sent a man over to turn off the gas and someone from the City's Planning Department came over too. I got out of there and went up the street to my neighbor's house to wait out the repair.
The man from PG&E blamed A & J Fence for not checking the utility maps and the man from A & J blamed PG&E for the maps being incorrect. The City's Planner said PG&E's maps were out of date.
Repairs, new lines, changes in home utilities, could result in the gas lines being moved or replaced. My neighbor had recently remodeled and enlarged his house, so that could be why that unmarked line was there.
Fortunately the gas was shut off quickly, the line was patched, and no people or pets were injured. But the danger of these things happening more often are real.
One of my regular readers, Harald Paul Arthur Balle from Alamo, emailed me a copy of his correspondence with an Alamo Home Owner's group.
"A federal grant has been provided to Alamo Improvement Association ("AIA") for review of potential disasters along the Iron Horse Trail, Concord to San Jose, with focus in the Alamo region, Treat to Crow Canyon. Within the Iron Horse corridor are potential disasters represented by the proximity of Kinder Morgan high pressure fuel pipeline (>1000 psi) to PG&E natural gas distribution pipelines and overhead high voltage power lines. In a major earthquake along the fault lines resident in or near our Iron Horse corridor, breakage of very old pipeline assets would mix to create explosions and fires that would devastate our communities."
All of these dangerous fuel lines and pipe lines are under or alongside the Iron Horse Trail. I emailed Mr. Balle, who is also known as Hal Bailey, that I live directly behind the IHT.
I know about the pipelines and the Kinder Morgan high octane fuel pipe along the Iron Horse Trail. My house is right in back of the trail and the wind blows from the West. If there is a fire or explosion on that pipe, I am literally toast!"
I remember the K-M pipeline explosion in Walnut Creek or Concord ten years ago. Three or four workers were killed in that explosion and I believe several homes on the street caught fire. K-M got off easy from that, but I don't trust either K-M or PG&E for 5 minutes! Moving to Maine is starting to look a lot better to me now.