Feds say power outage built pressure in San Bruno pipeline before blast

Destruction is seen in the aftermath of a gas line explosion September 10, 2010 in San Bruno, California. The explosion rocked a neighborhood near San Francisco International Airport, destroying 37 homes, killing at least 4 people, and injuring at least 50.
Destruction is seen in the aftermath of a gas line explosion September 10, 2010 in San Bruno, California. The explosion rocked a neighborhood near San Francisco International Airport, destroying 37 homes, killing at least 4 people, and injuring at least 50. Eric Risberg-Pool/Getty Images

Federal officials today released the preliminary findings of an investigation into last month’s explosion of a natural gas pipeline south of San Francisco. The blast killed eight people and destroyed 37 homes.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board still don’t know what caused a natural gas pipeline to burst last month in the residential neighbor of San Bruno, but a preliminary report on the September 9 blast concludes that a brief power outage had something to do with it.

The power went out 11 minutes before the explosion.

After the power failed, pressure in the segment of pipe that burst increased by 15 pounds per square inch.

Pacific Gas & Electric is responsible for the pipeline – and for electrical power in San Bruno.

Federal investigators are still testing segments of the failed pipeline. They say they’ll issue a more detailed report on the findings in the months ahead.

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