RANCHO CORDOVA, CA - A natural gas explosion in Rancho Cordova last Christmas Eve that claimed one life and injured two others was caused when non-standard pipe was used to make repairs, according to documents released Thursday by the National Safety Transportation Board. Read report
The federal investigation into the incident that killed Wilbert "Bill" Paana, 72, and critically injured his granddaughter and her mother in their Pauite Way home Dec. 24, 2008, determined that a section of unprinted packing pipe had been used by Pacific Gas & Electric where a leak developed.
That pipe was never meant to be used for repairs, according to PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson.
"It's inapprorpiate for our gas system, and was inadvertently used at that time as part of the repair," he said.
Swanson said sweeping changes were made to gas line repair procedures following the tragic explosion, including the addition of new equipment to help better detect natural gas levels. The packing pipe involved in the explosion has also been taken completely out of circulation.
Since the explosion of Christmas Eve 2008, the utility checked a number of other repair jobs and found no other incidents where the packing pipe was used.