Crime & Justice

PG&E found guilty of obstructing investigators after deadly San Bruno blast

File: In this Sept. 9, 2010, file photo, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno.
File: In this Sept. 9, 2010, file photo, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno.
Michael Sah/AP

A federal jury has found California's largest utility guilty of obstructing investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines after a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The jury returned its verdict Tuesday against Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The blast of the natural gas pipeline six years ago killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

During the investigation that followed, prosecutors say, the San Francisco-based utility misled federal officials about the standard it was using to identify high-risk pipelines.

PG&E said its employees did the best they could with ambiguous regulations they struggled to understand.

The stakes in the case fell dramatically when prosecutors recently decided not to pursue a potential $562 million penalty if the company was found guilty.