Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blast kills 2, puts 6 in hospital / Fuel line erupts in flame at work site; 2 missing

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 12/24/2013

Reposted to Protect My Sons

Perhaps the CEO of Accenture will give my 4.0 Student Son a College Grant 
Arson Murder - Magalia / Paradise CA
Related: Arson / Arson

WALNUT CREEK / Blast kills 2, puts 6 in hospital / Fuel line erupts in flame at work site; 2 missing

Published 4:00 am, Wednesday, November 10, 2004
  • Adri Riley (cq) (left) and Sarah Potter run with their pet dogs out of the Diablo Pointe apartment complex at 1450 Creekside Drive in Walnut Creek.They were told to evacuate because of fear of further explosions. (note : they did not live at this complex but rather one just across the street.
 A gas line explodes killing two members of a work crew as they were working on a construction project on South Broadway near Los Lomas High School.
 Photo by Michael Maloney / San Francisco Chronicle Photo: Michael Maloney
    Adri Riley (cq) (left) and Sarah Potter run with their pet dogs out of the Diablo Pointe apartment complex at 1450 Creekside Drive in Walnut Creek.They were told to evacuate because of fear of further explosions. (note : they did not live at this complex but rather one just across the street. A gas line explodes killing two members of a work crew as they were working on a construction project on South Broadway near Los Lomas High School. Photo by Michael Maloney / San Francisco Chronicle Photo: Michael Maloney

A fireball several stories high roared out of the ground near downtown Walnut Creek on Tuesday, killing two construction workers, injuring six and leaving two workers missing after a crew accidentally cut an underground jet fuel line.
The blast occurred about a quarter-mile away from the intersection of Newell Avenue and South Broadway, where two crews contracted by Mountain Cascade Inc. of Livermore were installing a large water main for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
One group of workers was welding in a trench, and a second group was digging another trench with a backhoe that apparently broke a pipeline that carries aviation fuel from Concord to the San Jose International Airport, said EBMUD spokesman Charles Hardy and Walnut Creek police investigating the accident.
Ellen Sabaduquia, 54, of Walnut Creek was driving on Broadway at 1:30 p.m. when the inferno shot out of the ground a few feet from her Toyota minivan. 
She watched in horror as two screaming men emerged from the hole, engulfed in flames.
"I thought I was in Fallujah for a moment," Sabaduquia told The Chronicle, her voice trembling. "It almost looked like slow motion from a horror movie."
Sabaduquia said she wanted to get out and pick up the workers, but the flames were too ferocious and she was forced to throw her vehicle into reverse.
The six workers who were injured were all burned -- three critically, authorities said. Those with the worst injuries were airlifted to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo in critical condition with burns over 40 to 60 percent of their bodies, said hospital spokeswoman Paula Ferron.
Two victims were airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with burns so severe they were transported again to a burn center at UC Davis, according to a hospital spokeswoman. There was no information available on the sixth burn victim.
Initial reports by authorities had three workers dead, but later in the evening police said that they had confirmed two fatalities and retrieved the bodies of those victims. Authorities did not disclose the names of the dead or the missing.
The accident sparked a series of underground explosions, sent a huge column of black smoke into the sky, burned one home and damaged several others on Doris Avenue, and prompted the evacuations of Las Lomas High School and Muirwood Elementary.
"This is the worst day of my life," said Bill Williams of Mountain Cascade, general contractor for EBMUD's $180 million Walnut Creek-San Ramon Valley Improvement Project to increase water flow in the area.
Williams fielded phone calls Tuesday afternoon from worried wives and scanned work rosters to try to figure out who was unaccounted for.
The explosion rattled shops at nearby Broadway Plaza and caused students to jump in their seats. The force was so intense it blew out the windows of several apartments on Creekside Drive across the street and charred the cab of an 18-wheeler parked near the construction site.
Initially, firefighters were prevented from approaching the searing hot flames, so they were forced to keep the public away and wait for the gasoline to burn out.
Firefighters capped the pipeline at cutoff valves in Concord and Alamo, and the inferno receded about 90 minutes later, said Steve Maiero, battalion chief of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
They discovered two bodies in or near the hole, Maiero said.
The jet fuel line, owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners of Houston, was marked on maps that construction workers were using, according to Eugene Braithwaite, director of operations for the company's northern region.
Kinder Morgan is under investigation in a separate incident in which 85, 000 gallons of fuel spilled from one of its pipelines into the Suisun Marsh last April.
Braithwaite said as soon as it was safe, Kinder Morgan would assess how to clean up the Walnut Creek pipe break, possibly using vacuum pumps to remove any residual fuel.
A few Doris Avenue residents spent the night with friends or in hotels with help from theRed Cross. Among them were Enos and Leto Chabot, who lost the back half of their two-story home at 2053 Doris Ave. The fireball rose 90 feet from the construction pit, up a concrete wall and burned their entire backyard, melting the windows on their back wall.
The couple were having lunch at the Hick'ry Pit restaurant nearby when they heard the boom, and they returned home to find their neighbors evacuated to a street corner a few blocks away.
"The important thing is we're OK," said Leto Chabot. "We have insurance, but this will take months to get fixed."
At Las Lomas High, Sarah Jones, 16, said she was in her physics class when she heard what she thought was someone dropping something on the roof.
Students were instructed over the loudspeaker to stay inside, then told to evacuate to Civic Park. They could see the plume of black smoke from the parking lot.
"I don't think we were so much scared as confused," Jones said. "Because nobody told us what was going on."
The evacuation went smoothly, however, because nearly all the students had cell phones and could call their parents to come get them. Only about 50 of the school's 1,700 students made it to Civic Park, and the rest went to downtown coffee shops and juice bars to wait for their parents.
As darkness fell, authorities used a robot to shoot close-up photographs of the accident scene.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.