Lawsuits filed over Calif. gas explosion

Oct. 20, 2010 at 7:49 PM

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Five families who lost homes and loved ones in a natural gas explosion in the San Francisco area have sued Pacific Gas and Electric Co., their lawyer says.

Frank Pitre, who represents the plaintiffs, said he expects more than 20 additional lawsuits, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He filed the first five Tuesday in San Mateo County.

"This wasn't an accident. This was a foreseeable consequence of ignoring safety measures," Pitre said.

The explosion in a gas line in San Bruno, about 12 miles south of San Francisco, killed eight people, injured many more and destroyed 37 houses on Sept. 9. Susan Bullis, the plaintiff in one suit, lost her husband, teenage son and mother-in-law. Another plaintiff, Christiane Chiramberro, survived with severe facial burns.

Pitre called the pipeline a "ticking time bomb" and said one goal of the litigation is to get it moved out of the neighborhood.

A PGE spokeswoman said the company has not yet seen the complaints, the newspaper said.

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