San Bruno Explosion: Engineer Claims PG&E Knew Pipeline Records Incomplete (PHOTOS)

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A senior Pacific Gas & Electric Co. engineer testified that he repeatedly warned his supervisors before a fatal gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb that the utility's gas records were incomplete, but they did nothing about it.

Todd Arnett said in a deposition taken as part of a lawsuit against PG&E after the 2010 blast in San Bruno that he was concerned those shoddy records could endanger lives. The blast killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes.

Arnett's deposition was filed on Tuesday in San Mateo County Superior Court by attorneys for the 350 plaintiffs in the suit. PG&E has said the explosion was an accident.

The suit is scheduled to go to trial in October.

Arnett said the incomplete and inaccurate records were contained in PG&E's geographic information system. The system is supposed to include details about a pipeline's history and characteristics.

Federal and state regulators have said there were errors and missing information.

PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said the utility will file its response to the plaintiffs' claims in court by Aug. 20.

PG&E President Chris Johns has said he was told only after the blast that the geographic information system could use improvements.

The Sept. 9, 2010, blast has been blamed on an inferior pipeline weld. According to a March review by PG&E, more than 200 of its high-pressure transmission pipelines still have sections riddled with vulnerable seam welds.

The company has said it plans to pressure test, replace or otherwise examine the problematic pipeline segments over the next two years.


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