DRC-Disaster Research Center

Active Studies










San Bruno CA Sept. 9, 2010 Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire

Principal Investigator: Rachel Davidson
Co-PIs: James Kendra (Univ. of North Texas, now DRC), David McEntire (Univ. of North Texas)
Graduate Research Assistant: Sizheng Li
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation(NSF)

Study Description

On September 9, 2010, in San Bruno, California, a suburb of San Francisco, a 30-inch steel natural gas pipeline exploded in flames, igniting a fire that ultimately killed seven residents and damaged or destroyed dozens of houses. This RAPID proposal requests funds to study the San Bruno explosion and fire with the aims of (a) improving understanding of how urban fires spread and are suppressed, (b) supporting development and validation of next-generation urban fire simulation models, and (c) advancing theories of resilience. An interdisciplinary field team will gather data that will provide a holistic account of the event across the engineering and social sciences. In particular, the team will examine the composition and distribution of structures, rate and means of fire spread, local topography and weather conditions, and elements of multiorganizational coordination and decisionmaking.