APNewsBreak: Calif. pipe that blew had prior leak

June 8, 2011 - 1:15 PM

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — A top safety official says a pipeline that exploded in a San Francisco suburb last fall sprang a gas leak in a nearby spot years before, but the California utility only told federal investigators about it a few weeks ago.

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman discussed the prior leak as she prepared to announce two new safety recommendations Wednesday.

Hersman is meeting in San Bruno with families who lost relatives in the blast that killed eight, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes in a quiet subdivision.

She says she is frustrated that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. recently told her staff about the 1988 leak on the same line, just nine miles south of the rupture site. She says it shows PG&E's record-keeping is inadequate.