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It was Crankshaft

To me, natural gas explosions are things that happen with some regularity, suddenly blowing up one house and perhaps damaging a neighbor's house in the process. So color me croggled by the scope and damage of yesterday's explosion in San Bruno, CA. I'm very thankful Lucy Huntzinger and John Bartelt are fine, that they and their home were only rattled by the blast that occurred 2-3 miles away.

Online photos findable through any Google search show the devastation that killed at least 4 people, injured at least 52 more, destroyed 38 homes, and damaged still others. But it was the San Francisco Chronicle article where neighborhood residents told their own stories from when it started that really brought the story home.

For example, "Freddy Tobar was upstairs in his kitchen getting ready to feed his Chihuahua Chiquita, when he heard popping sounds from under the ground and felt the house shaking. He looked outside and saw his backyard crumble into the earth. Trees disintegrated into flames."

I can so picture that happening here, and just how horrifying it would be. Heck, I even have a natural gas pipeline running through the my property about 350 feet from the house.

Or the the story from the guy driving home from work and seeing the fireball between him and home, where his children were. They're all fine, but OMG.

Then I got to another report and started laughing: "Jerry Guernsey had spent the day working on his '57 Chevy on Concord Way, just blocks from the impact, where he's lived for 25 years. He'd fired up the barbecue in his backyard when it sounded like a jetliner had dropped from the sky."

Why my laughter? Because in another world, the explosion wasn't a gas line erupting, it wasn't an airplane crashing. It was Ed Crankshaft, lighting the coals in his Weber grill.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
Something like this
has happened twice in my memory, and were both man-made, not accidental. The first was in the late 70s (maybe early 80s, my sis was still living at home),

I have to preface this part with the fact that my parents house was off Highway 33, six miles south of the Wellsville I-35 exit in Kansas and about a mile north of highway 68. A set of Union Gas high pressure natural gas pipelines runs roughly 500 feet south of Highway 68 there, going east-west. If you go east from there on 68, you can see some gas-handling facilities.

Some doofus decided to drill some fence posts without checking with anyone on the proximity of those pipelines. using a truck-mounted auger, IF they had not had an all-electric house with no natural gas of any kind running into it, my folks would have had to be evacuated.

As it was, they could actually feel some heat from it, it was in the late winter and still otherwise chilly. Plus they could hear the roar. My sis told me that it woke her up when they finished capping it and shutting the thing off--it was suddenly dark and quiet again in the middle of the night. it took them three days to shut it down. All they found of the doofus was the merest frontmost part of his truck.

Someone did a similar stupid thing just recently here in an uninhabited part of Kansas City, KS.

Around here, there are fairly few gas-caused explosions or fires. And natural gas is a major fuel source here for home heating. Our boiler, for example, is gas-fired.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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