- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - The California Public Utilities Commission determined that Fresno County was responsible for a deadly April pipeline explosion at a shooting range in Fresno.

The explosion killed one man and injured 13 others, most of them prisoners from the county jail who were working at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Foundation range.

The Fresno Bee reported (https://bit.ly/1SqmuHK) that the PUC said Monday the explosion was caused by the driver of a front loader who struck the gas pipeline buried in the side of a hill where he was digging.

The driver was among the injured.

The report found that the county failed to find out whether there were pipelines in the area.

Dan Cederborg, Fresno County counsel, said the county disagreed with the conclusion but could not comment further due to litigation.

The Cal-OSHA document said the county “did not make a thorough survey of the conditions of the site to determine… the predictable hazards to employees with respect to underground utilities, such as an existing natural gas line.”

In October, California’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration fined the county more than $100,000 for the incident. All the violations have been corrected, state documents said, but the county is appealing the fines.

The commission report found no wrongdoing on the part of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which owns the pipeline.

Several of the inmates, along with the county and the county worker, have sued PG&E;, claiming improper maintenance of the pipeline.

PG&E; has sued the county, as has the Fresno Sheriff’s Foundation for Public Safety. Union Pacific Railroad also filed suit in the case because of damage done to its tracks next to the range, the newspaper reported.

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Information from: The Fresno Bee, https://www.fresnobee.com

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