Fresno State professor says pieces of pipe will lead to failure point in gas explosion

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Much like a car or plane crash, Friday's fiery gas line explosion in Northwest Fresno will take a fair amount of forensic analysis to determine exactly what happened and why.

Fresno State Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Michael Jenkins says investigators are likely collecting and analyzing both physical evidence and getting the story from those who were there or nearby.

"So you're reconstructing based upon eyewitness testimony as well as the pieces that are sitting there, and once you get it all together, you can start coming up with a probable cause," Jenkins said.

He says a probable cause is the best we'll get.

Although, he says, investigators should be able to determine what caused the gas leak, and what caused the ignition that triggered the explosion.

The point of contention now is whether the Fresno County worker hit the gas line, or if it was a problem with the PG&E pipe itself.

For an answer, Jenkins says it will require finding pieces of the pipe, to then find where the failure point was.

"So finding the pieces is going to be a trick," he said.

From there, Jenkins says investigators can answer whether it was an internal or external problem.

"We just have to determine what happened in this case and then come up with a probable cause and then obviously someone has to take the fall for it, so we'll see what happens," Jenkins said.

Community Regional Medical Center says they now have a total of seven patients being treated for their injuries in the explosion, four of which are still in critical condition.
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