Devastating San Bruno Explosion Should Have Been Avoided

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Expert in death and injury cases expresses concerns about PG&E's failures to take proper care of its gas lines

Residents in the neighborhood reported a strong smell of what they thought was leaking gas over the past few weeks

The massive explosion and subsequent fire in a San Bruno neighborhood on Thursday evening was likely the result of a natural gas leak that had been previously reported but not properly addressed by PG&E, according to a Bay Area injury and death expert.

Recovery teams are continuing their search for bodies in the neighborhood, which one resident described as "hell on earth." The San Bruno explosion and fire death toll from the explosion is up to 7 and expected to reach as high as 15 people. Estimates of people who were seriously injured - mostly burned - hover around 50. Thirty-seven homes were totally destroyed and over 100 were damaged in the explosion and fires which followed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the cause of the accident, while the California Public Utilities Commission is heading up the state investigation.

"Residents in the neighborhood reported a strong smell of what they thought was leaking gas over the past few weeks," said Robert H. Bohn, Jr., a founding partner of the Bay Area law firm of Bohn & Bohn LLP. "It appears that PG&E investigated the gas leak just last week, but it's not clear what -- if anything -- was done. What we do know is that PG&E had a poor record in maintaining its natural gas lines, that there have been scores of injuries and deaths as a result, that PG&E considered this area a highly dangerous one and that there are questions about the integrity of the lines where this explosion occurred." Recent reports indicate there was a weld along the area of the 30 inch main which ruptured on Thursday night.

According to Bohn, PG&E was prepared to replace 7,500 feet of the San Bruno gas line at a cost of about five million dollars - a fraction of the $48 million PG&E spent on an initiative battle it lost earlier this year. "Once again, we see PG&E's habit of putting its profits first and its customers' service and safety last. We have people whose lives have been dramatically changed through the loss of loved ones, disfiguring injuries, lost pets, displacement and loss of everything they own. If this company chooses to run its business like this, the very least we can do is to hold them accountable - fully accountable," says Bohn.

The lawyers at Bohn & Bohn have 75 years of experience in helping seriously injured people and the families of those wrongfully killed recover from the devastating losses they have suffered. Based in San Jose, the firm assists clients throughout California and has expertise in representing those who have experienced severe injuries or death of a family member. For more information, please call 800.573.4222 or go to


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Robert H. Bohn, Jr.
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