Southern California Gas Co. is investigating the cause of a gas transmission line explosion and fire that reportedly set the surrounding five acres ablaze.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department, which responded to the Oct. 1 incident, tweeted that the explosion created a "large crater" in the ground and the fire impacted vegetation on five acres of remote U.S. Bureau of Land Management property.
SoCalGas crews noticed an unintended gas release when they were working on a pipeline near Newberry Springs in San Bernardino County. The workers were able to safely evacuate the area, although equipment at the scene was burned in the fire.
The utility's monitoring system detected a sudden gas pressure drop on the 30-inch transmission pipeline, and valves on the line automatically and remotely shut off the affected pipe section as a result, according to SoCalGas spokeswoman Christine Detz.
"SoCalGas is working with regulators to investigate the cause of the incident," Detz said in an Oct. 6 email.
No customers lost gas service as a result, the Sempra Energy subsidiary said. The company did not immediately respond to questions about the pipe material or whether excavation damage was considered a possible cause.
The unplanned gas release caused a fire that burned nearby vegetation and equipment.