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NTSB chair blasts Calif. utility record keeping

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board says a California utility's record-keeping blunders leading up to the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion demonstrate a need for stepped-up industry safety.

Deborah Hersman said Wednesday in a speech in Washington that her investigators learned after the Sept. 9 explosion that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. had no records on the manufacture and 1956 installation of the 30-inch pipeline.

She says that means for more than a half-century, the utility's decisions on inspections, operating pressures and risk management were based on facts that were just plain wrong.

The explosion and fire killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.

Details of the speech appear in the San Francisco Chronicle.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the National Transportation Safety Board says a California utility's record-keeping blunders leading up to the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion demonstrates a need for stepped-up industry safety.

Deborah Hersman said Wednesday in a speech in Washington that her investigators learned after the Sept. 9 explosion that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. had no records on the manufacture and 1956 installation of the 30-inch pipeline.

She says that means for more than a half-century, the utility's decisions on inspections, operating pressures and risk management were based on facts that were just plain wrong.

The explosion and fire killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.

Details of the speech appear in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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