Rural Bakersfield gas line explosion kills 1, injures 3

One person died and three others were sent to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns Friday afternoon after a PG&E natural gas line explosion sent flames hundreds of feet into the air south of Bakersfield.

“A third party, more than likely a farmer, hit the line with a piece of heavy equipment,” Kern County Fire Department Capt. Tom Ellison said. “The operator of that vehicle was killed.”

The explosion happened just after 3:30 p.m. near Houghton and Wible roads, west of Highway 99.

A spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said the utility tested the pipeline for leaks as recently as this week and found none, and that records show no leak along the line for at least the last three years.

The Bakersfield Californian has continuing coverage.