Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Major Gas Leak at Lipton and Berkeley; At Least 8 Square Blocks of Santa Monica Without Power, Gas

An excavator hit a 16" pipeline underground. "It's like a car wreck down there," says a SoCal Gas Company spokeswoman

4/30: A major natural gas leak near the intersection of Lipton Avenue and Berkeley Street, has caused an eight-block area of Santa Monica to lose electrical power and natural gas. Residents as far west as 24th Street reported that they could smell natural gas.

The outage began at about 6 p.m. on Thursday April 29th, and had not been resolved as of 4 p.m. Friday April 30th. An excavator hit a 16" pipeline underground. "It's like a car wreck down there," explained a Southern California Gas Company spokeswoman. "We haven't been able to get to it yet, to assess the damages, so we cannot give you an estimate for when it might be repaired. They dug completely without permits or knowing where our pipe was," she said, referring to the Third Party excavator.

She asked us not to video-record her, and would not give other details on the extent of damage, because "crews have not yet been able to fully assess the situation." She wouldn't tell us her name either, nor be quoted on the record. Which, come to think of it, makes her kind of an unusual spokesperson.

Driving around the area, there were SoCal Gas Company crews excavating on at least three intersections. Bristol Farms Market is without power and closed. At least twenty SoCal Gas Company crewmen were engaged in excavation and other activities in order to repair the damage. Some homes have reportedly also lost water services.

The East end of the 90403 zip code in Santa Monica is a nice neighborhood of pricey homes, expensive condos, and rent controlled apartments with older tenants who pay a fraction of what the more recently moved in pay.

"Natural gas" is a man-made product that is piped into homes to fuel stoves and heaters. It is 85% methane, clean burning, and highly efficient. It is also potentially highly explosive, which explains why electrical power has been turned off in the area.

In 2010, a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) natural gas leak caused an explosion in San Bruno. The Northern California incident killed 8 people and destroyed homes in a four block area.


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