A section of gasoline pipeline that ruptured in a fatal explosion and fire wasn't checked for damage after a runaway train plowed across it two weeks ago, the line's owner said Friday.
Also, federal investigators looking into the fire announced they had found dents and marks on the buried pipe, and pieces of rail cars embedded in the earth near the line.The pipeline fire Thursday killed at least two people and destroyed 10 houses across the street from the vacant lots left after a freight train derailed two weeks ago, killing four people and destroying six houses.
The investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board refused to say if they believed damage from the freight train wreck was to blame for the pipeline blast Thursday.
But the evidence appeared to lend weight to the contention of residents and city officials that the back-to-back disasters that rocked a neighborhood of modest homes were related, and that the second might have been prevented.
"All these people were saying it was safe to go back after the train accident," said Dudley Brewster, whose rental home was destroyed in the blast. "Now the Red Cross says its got another place for me a few blocks away. I said, `Uh-uh. No way. We're never going back."'
The fire that raged all day Thursday as unleaded gasoline gushed from the pipe was so intense that it has been difficult to identify, or even count the dead, authorities said.
Late Friday, spokesmen from the city of San Bernardino said the county coroner's office had been in error in reporting that the remains of three people were recovered. Only two bodies were positively identified, said city spokesman Richard Bennecke and police Sgt. Dan Hernandez, press liaison for the department.
Authorities said an infant initially believed dead was accounted for.
The line itself was dented and marked, but investigators couldn't say if the metal pieces had done the damage, he said.