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PG&E Blames 1956 Strength Test For San Bruno Pipeline Blast

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San Bruno Explosion

Flames are seen in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood following a gas pipeline explosion, September 9, 2010 in San Bruno. (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said a pipeline strength test the company performed in 1956 damaged a weld and led to the 2010 explosion in San Bruno that left eight people dead and destroyed dozens of homes.

PG&E made the claim in a filing submitted Tuesday to the California Public Utilities Commission, which has launched numerous investigations into the company that could result in millions in fines in the wake of the Sept. 9, 2010 blast.

Commission staff previously have said that the company broke federal pipeline safety rules by failing to perform a strength test.

The company based its assertion on an interview with a former employee. The employee apparently said a pressure test was performed on the transmission line that ran through the San Bruno neighborhood around the time the pipeline was installed.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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