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Pipeline leak causes explosion

December 22, 1980

SAN BERNARDO, Calif. - At 8:11 a.m. this morning an explosion shook the Las

Vegas Valley as the result of a rupture in the Calnev Pipeline.

In the neighborhood between Duffy Street and Highland Avenue 100 foot flames

were sighted engulfing at least seven houses. A thick cloud of gray-black smoke from

the explosion was reported visible as far as neighboring communities Riverside and


There are currently two confirmed deaths in one of the homes on Duffy Street.

Firefighters are looking for a third person believed to have been in the same home.

When the pipeline ruptured, between 50,000 and 100,000 US gallons of

unleaded gasoline were spilled over the course of two hours, spraying onto some of the

nearby houses.

About 700 people in the area have been evacuated to a Red Cross evacuation

center that has been set up at the Job Corps Center, 3753 Kerry St.

Currently, 13 residents of the area have been admitted to San Bernardino County

Medical Center, including 10 being treated for burns.

The cause of the break is currently unknown.

We dont know the cause of the break. It could have been the train, obviously,

said David Andries, an official of the Calnev Gas Company.

Two weeks earlier in the same neighborhood, a freight train derailed and crashed

into a string of houses. No evidence so far supports a link from this event to the

explosion. Experts who examined the pipelines following the train incident deemed

there to be no danger.

Miretta Brumlow, a resident of Adams Street was in her home when the explosion

occurred. I felt my whole house shake. I thought it was an earthquake. Then I looked

out and I saw the fire and I just started crying, she said.

The Calnev pipeline, owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, is used to carry

unleaded fuel from Colton, CA. to North Las Vegas, NV. It consists of two parallel lines,

with diameters of 8 and 14 inches respectively. The 14-inch pipeline, the line that

ruptured, can carry more than 3.3 million gallons of fuel, jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel.

Highland Avenue at Macy has been closed to motor vehicles.