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Huge fire in San Bruno from 30" Gas Main Explosion

Discussion in 'The OT' started by phrelin, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    [​IMG]

    This story is just too much to describe here. There is surreal video on KGO TV.

    What firefighters arriving to a "house fire" call in a residential neighborhood faced was a 100'x100'x100' ball of flame fed by a 24" natural gas main functioning as a 1200° F stove that exploded with tremendous force throwing chunks of pavement into houses a block away and taking with it the water main.

    The number of houses destroyed will likely be 40+. The number of dead is unknown - 1 is confirmed at a hospital and 10+ others are critical.

    From the SF Gate (Chronicle) web site:
     
  2. barryb

    barryb New Member

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    Story has made it around the world Phelrin. I was just going to post it here too.

    This is a terrible explosion that happened about an hour away from me. My condolences go out to all affected.
     
  3. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    It as stunning to watch a freelancers video on KGO. It's tragic, so many people lost their homes and a large number suffered burns, perhaps the worst kind of injury. Apparently the crater where the gas main blew is next to a children's playground but there are no reports of anyone being there.

    It was sad to see firefighters standing there looking helpless and bewildered as it took a half hour to get a water ferrying system up and running.
     
  4. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Growing up I lived on military bases with F-4 and F-16 fighters and other planes making a lot of noise with their engines.

    A couple of years ago I stepped out of a business I was visiting and heard a similar roar ... full throttle. It turned out to be a similar gas line rupture burning away a couple miles from where I was standing. Fortunately it was in an open field and only the operator of the digger that hit the line died.

    Call before you dig. Always.
     
  5. matt

    matt New Member

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    Dude you said it. I had a fence in my back yard that fell over in a storm. I can clearly see where the neighbors gas line runs out of the meter and into her house, and it's that green plastic stuff. Mine is the same way. I figure her line is plenty far away, and there was a fence right here in this exact same spot anyway, I don't need to call, wait, and let them in the gate to mark it.

    I start digging and "clank!"... gas line. :( It was an old abandoned line but even the most unexpected thing can rear it's head.
     
  6. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

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    It's so easy to check too - Just dial 811 before you dig.
     
  7. sum_random_dork

    sum_random_dork Icon

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    If you'd like to listen to the fire radio traffic follow that link. Last night at it's peak SFO airport had their "Crash truck" ready to respond to the scene to help put out the gas fire. As of this morning 5 people are being reported dead with Search and Recuse teams being called in. Various Nor Cal State of CA OES fire engines are being sent to San Bruno as of early this morning. They are also bringing Hazmat and USAR teams to help with the search.

    A few of the "nicer" stories that came out overnight, one of the first engines on scene couldn't help with the fire because there was no water, but one of their FFs saw a dog that needed to be rescused so they saved the dog. Petco opened their doors to anyone needing a place for their pets, and various local restaurants opened their doors and gave away free food to anyone needing it. CalFire let their helicopters fly after dark which they never do, it was up to the pilots to fly until they felt it wasn't safe anymore.
     
  8. barryb

    barryb New Member

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    Local paper is reporting four confirmed fatalities, but thats expected to rise.

    Link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/peninsula&id=7660103
     
  9. barryb

    barryb New Member

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  10. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    The scale of this fire is stunning.
     
  11. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    The two stories to look at this morning are the AP story in the Sacramento Bee which is very thorough and has links to other information and the update story on the KGO TV site which says:
     
  12. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    While I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, a similar occurrence on a smaller scale happened. From the History of the Madison Fire Dept.:
    "Failure of a regulating valve allowed natural gas to rush at high pressure into low pressure valves causing explosions which rocked the Bassett Street area. Five buildings were destroyed and two people killed. Fed by the gas, flames erupted continuously, leaping through cracks in the street to surround firefighters as they positioned themselves to attack the fires. "
     
  13. redfiver

    redfiver DBSTalk Club Member

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    That was the craziest thing when watching it last night, when the two CalFire planes came roaring through, checking it out. Then, shortly thereafter started dropping flame retardant. Never seen that before. So much destruction so quickly. Could see that plume from the South Bay as well. Sad.

    Another nice story, while not as nice as the food places and Petco, is that the FAA called in a backup air traffic controller to control the airspace around San Bruno so all the news helicopters, police helicopters, CalFire helicopters and planes could get dedicated radar support to keep them as safe as possible. It doesn't surprise me that this was done, but still cool that they immediately stepped up and helped in the only way they could.

    It's going to be a tough time for that community.
     
  14. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    What isn't clear to me, is how can a 24" high pressure pipeline run under homes?
    High tension power lines have open space under them and yet homes were built over a main feed gas pipeline?

    PG&E screwed up a regulator repair a while back and turned a block of home's water heaters into blowtorches, which while tragic can be somewhat understood, but a main high pressure gas line that is in earthquake country has homes built on top of it? :confused:
     
  15. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    The local news just upgraded the pipe from 24" to 30"
     
  16. sum_random_dork

    sum_random_dork Icon

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    Sounds like the real search is begining, they have been wetting down damaged homes to cool down the rubble so it's OK to bring in search dogs. The NTSB is supposed to be arriving on scene to take the lead in the investigation. Last night The FBI showed up to review everything and make sure it wasn't a terrorist act. There is a very large hole where the pipe use to be, this has lead to other issues with water pipes being damaged and also sewer pipes leaking. The media has been frustrated because the entire area is being called a crime scene so they have no access to the area.

    *bit more of an update, 2 more USAR teams have been requested, I haven't heard if they activated any of the FEMA USAR teams or if these are still local requests taking place. There are 3 FEMA USAR teams based in Nor Cal (Oakland, Menlo Park, and Sacramento).
     
  17. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    It didn't. It ran down the street. (Glenview Dr in the map below.)

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.622751,-122.44181&z=16&t=h&hl=en

    Houses are built within the fall distance of towers and those power lines. The houses in San Bruno were just not out of the blast distance of the 30" pipe.
     
  18. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    This explosion is 1 1/2 miles from my brother's house and 2 1/2 miles from my Mom's house. Both of them heard it. My Mom got the smoke and even a few ashes.

    Pretty scary.
     
  19. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Thanks for the google map.
    It does look like Glenview was laid out to be over the pipeline.
    From the aerial shots on the news this looks like the burn area [gray circle] and the red is over the broken pipeline.

    [​IMG]
     

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  20. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Maybe its time for the government to require automatic shutoff valves on those high pressure pipes, so if there is a sudden drop in pressure, it shuts off the supply. Wouldnt help the initial blast victims, but sure would limit the collateral damage.
     

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