Woman wants 30-inch exposed gas line buried

San Diego Gas and Electric: Pipe is safe

FALLBROOK, Calif. - 25-year-old Stephanie Napoles is worried the 30-inch high-pressure gas pipe in a ditch front of her Fallbrook home will end up like the one in San Bruno when a Pacific Gas and Electric pipe exploded in 2009 and killed eight people. 

"Am I going to come home to my family being in ashes or am I not going to wake up?" wondered Napoles.

Her neighbors wrote Napoles a letter that said they were also concerned about the 30-inch unprotected natural gas line on her property and called it an accident waiting to happen.

Nopoles agreed with her neighbors but said the pipe and easement belongs to San Diego Gas and Electric.

"I want it fixed and buried," she said. "I want to make sure that when someone crashes on my property they aren't going to fall into a 20-foot ditch and explode."

Napoles said a car crashed into the ditch last winter but the car hit a tree and not the pipe.

"I guess the next time they go in if it's not this tree then it's straight to the pipe," she said.

The pipe is now covered with a tarp as SDG&E crews work on a retaining wall and visual inspection.

"They refuse to bury it because of the budget. That was the first thing I heard from them ... was that it cost too much money," said Napoles.

An SDG&E spokeswoman told Team 10 the pipe is as safe above ground as it is below. She said the line has been there since the 1960s without any incidents and they cannot bury the line because of environmental reasons. 

Napoles said she feels like SDG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission, the group that oversees the pipe, are not listening to her.

Team 10 also asked SDG&E about Napoles' concerns that workers were using her utilities and the well on her property while they completed the retaining wall.

SDG&E said they would stop using the well immediately and sent Napoles a letter apologizing for using it.

Napoles told Team 10 she would keep fighting to get the line buried for the safety of the entire neighborhood.

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