Concord contractor approved to resume limited work after Nov. 16 explosion

Concord contractor approved to resume limited work after Nov. 16 explosion

Concord contractor approved to resume limited work after Nov. 16 explosion
Photo courtesy City of Concord

CONCORD, CA (Nov. 21, 2022) —Last week Contra Costa fire crews and Concord police responded to an explosion at Grant and East streets. They shutdown the roads while fighting to control the fire.

The Nov. 16 explosion came after a construction crew contracted by the City of Concord to conduct repaving work on Grant and East streets hit a 4-inch gas line causing it to ignite.  The blaze destroyed a pavement grinder, however, the operator escaped without harm.

Fire crews could not extinguish the fire for more than an hour until after PG&E crews were able to pinch off the corresponding gas lines around 12:30 p.m.

Although no evacuations or shelter-in-place orders were made by authorities, some nearby businesses and a local high school took those additional precautions.

Following extensive cleanup and PG&E’s work to replace the broken pipe, the roads were fully reopened by 9 a.m. on Nov. 17.

Safety review

On Monday, Nov. 21, Concord’s city manager, Valerie Barone, released the following statement which describes the city’s response to the incident:

“Concord’s engineering team paused all work on the project and met on-site with the contractor, Bay Cities Paving, and PG&E to review all safety protocols. PG&E and the contractor re-marked all of the underground utilities in the area. The contractor was then approved to begin work again on Nov. 18, which was limited to shallow milling of the asphalt and digging to positively verify all utilities in the work area.

“The contractor reviewed the results of the safety review, re-marking and planned construction events with the City Engineer and was allowed to return to work on Nov. 19 with work limited to what was necessary.

“As a city, we take public safety very seriously, and we apologize for the significant inconvenience this incident caused.

“We also want to assure the community that every construction project undergoes a considerable amount of review and preparation to prevent this type of incident. Utilities are marked in advanced and construction crews are trained on how to safely avoid them. The City is working with the contractor to determine the root cause to ensure this type of incident does not happen in the future. The engineering team is closely monitoring the work in the field.”