Geoff LaTendresse is the battalion chief for the Freemont, CA, Fire Department. He tells Dan Goldstein his crew knew that a natural gas pipeline runs through the territory it serves, but it did not know that line is a major 30-inch line that was on Pacific Gas and Electrics' "critical maintenance" list until members saw media reports following the San Bruno pipeline explosion in September 2010.
He believes PG&E should have told the department itself about the status of the pipeline. That information may not have made a difference, but he'd like to have had the opportunity to make a difference.
LaTendresse says his crew's first priority is saving lives, then saving property, so it's to their advantage to know as much information as possible when it is rolling to a critical call. He says PG&E should have told his department that the pipeline was a high priority. He understands that the information could be dangerous if made public, but he believes the fire departments should know the status of all lines in its service area and what the definition of that status means.
He says PGE has told him it plans to maintain the line in 2011, but the utility has not told him the details of that maintenance. He hopes it will give his department that information when it's avialbel because he believes lives may depend on it.