A federal court jury has convicted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of obstructing a federal probe into a 2010 natural gas explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno, California, according to a recent article on SFGate.com.
The jury found PG&E guilty of five felony counts of knowingly failing to inspect and test its gas lines for potential dangers, in addition to the felony obstruction count, the article states. The panel also found that company officials had tried to derail the San Bruno investigation by denying a practice of pumping natural gas through aging pipelines at excessive pressures.
San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane told SFGATE that he and other city officials had wanted federal prosecutors to file criminal charges against PG&E’s top executives, who “made conscious decisions to put safety on the bottom of their list.” Only the company was charged, not its current or former officials. But Ruane said it was still gratifying to see the company convicted, saying the verdicts “put a very dark stain on the corporate seal.”
The explosion, early in the evening of Sept. 9, 2010, sent flames 1,000 feet into the air and devastated San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood, according to the article. In addition to the dead, 58 people were seriously injured.
The cause was a defective seam weld in a 30-inch transmission pipeline from the 1950s that PG&E charts had labeled seamless.
To read the SFGate.com article, click here.
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