Statement from City Manager Valerie Barone regarding the Nov. 16, 2022 Construction Fire
On Nov. 16, 2022 at about 10:30 a.m., 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 fire soon engulfed the pavement grinder, but the operator was able to escape quickly and was unharmed.
Contra Costa Fire Protection District crews and Concord Police Department officers responded immediately to close the roads and control the fire, which could not be extinguished until PG&E crews were able to pinch off the corresponding gas lines.
Although no evacuations or shelter-in-place orders were made by authorities, some nearby businesses and a local high school took those additional precautions.
PG&E was able to halt the gas flow to the line at about 12:30 p.m., enabling fire crews to extinguish the fire. 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.
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.