Fire Department officials on Wednesday questioned the PG&E response time for a broken gas line that fueled a four-alarm fire Tuesday in the Portola district.
Fire Chief Joanna Hayes-White has requested a meeting with PG&E to determine whether there was a miscommunication in the response.
The fire, which began when a contractor working at a vacant home on San Bruno Avenue inadvertently ignited a gas service line, badly injured the worker and caused $1.4 million in damage to the empty house and a building next door. Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries. The contractor was in stable condition Wednesday at St. Francis Hospital.
The fire ignited about 3:45 p.m., according to Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge. According to Fire Department and gas company notes, an emergency dig crew arrived about 4:40 p.m., 50 minutes after the initial call to PG&E. A PG&E supervisor arrived on the scene at 4:15 p.m.
“It took a long time for the dig crew to arrive, and that was bothersome,” Talmadge said. “We called PG&E and said, ‘We need an ETA, we need an ETA!’ and we didn’t get one.”
The gas continued to burn for 2½ hours because the flames prevented responders from reaching a shut-off valve. PG&E was able to shut off the gas at 5:40 p.m., Talmadge said.
PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said the dig crew, one of two such PG&E teams in the area, had been in Twin Peaks.
“We got there as quickly and safely as we could,” he said about the response time.
He said PG&E always follows up these types of incidents with a full investigation and will gladly sit down with the Fire Department.
Bay City News contributed to this report.