Gas Explosions Not Uncommon

Fire crews tried to douse the remnantsof an enormous blaze Friday after a gas line ruptured and an explosion ripped through in a neighborhood near San Francisco.

According to federal data, incidents related to natural gas pipelines are not uncommon, occurring nearly every other day, causing millions of dollars in property damage and several deaths each year.

There are three basic types of natural gas pipelines. "Gathering" pipelines carry natural gas from production wells. "Transmission" pipelines transport natural gas across the country. And, "distribution" pipelines carry natural gas to homes and businesses.

Photos: California Gas Explosion

Video: Aerial View of Devastation

U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data shows an average 155 incidents happen annually related to distribution pipelines. In 2009, there were 158 natural-gas distribution pipeline incidents reported to PHMSA that killed 10 people, injured 50 and caused almost $32 million in property damage.

  • Pia Malbran

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