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NTSB releases first report on deadly California pipeline explosion

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Three pieces of the ruptured pipe were examined at a facility in Ashburn, Virginia
  • The report is the first in a series to be released by the NTSB
  • Fact-finding hearings will be held in March in Washington, D.C.
  • The explosion and fire killed eight people and destroyed 37 homes

(CNN) -- The National Transportation Safety Board on Friday released the first report on the natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno, California, last year.

A short time after the blast, NTSB investigators spent more than a week at a facility in Ashburn, Virginia, examining three pieces of the 30-inch-diameter steel pipe from the explosion, according to the report on the agency's website.

The Metallurgical Group report includes detailed facts and pictures of the condition of the ruptured pipe, a statement said, but does not include any analysis of those facts.

The September 9 blast sent a 28-foot section of the gas pipeline 100 feet into the air and blew in the doors of a grocery store a quarter-mile away.

The explosion and fire injured 52 people and destroyed 37 homes.

The government report is the first in a series of factual reports the NTSB is developing during the investigation, the agency said. Additional reports will be released on the first day of the fact-finding investigative hearing that the NTSB will hold in Washington, D.C., on March 1-3, according to the agency statement.

Those reports will focus on operations, human performance, survival factors, the scene of the fire and meteorology.

A determination of a cause isn't expected to be released until the final report is complete.