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Mobile Home Parks Need Manual Gas Shut-Offs

July 03, 1994

* In spite of the incredible efforts of the Los Angeles Fire Department, on the day of the Northridge earthquake 22 beautiful double- and triple-wide mobile homes filled with gas exploded into flames and burned to the ground.

For almost 14 hours, broken gas lines all over Los Olivos Mobile Home Park spewed gas unchecked into the park.

Lines were broken as the heaving earth slammed the homes into the gas meters. The meter shut-offs and automatic shut-off valves were rendered useless.

The manager was at the park entrance within minutes to cut off utility lines into the park. But no one, including the firefighters and gas company field representatives, knew where the main gas line connection was located.

The city Fire Department was equipped to turn off main city gas lines but not to break through asphalt to locate lines. It was evening before the right gas company crew got to Los Olivos, located the line, broke through street asphalt and cut and capped the gas line.

In parks where gas is sub-metered into the park and a shut-off is next to the meter at the park entrance, main gas lines were manually turned off within 10 minutes. That's as it should have been at Los Olivos.

The gas company's concern about installing automatic shut-off valves all over the city is, in my opinion, very reasonable. But its refusal to install manual shut-off valves at entrances of mobile home parks, like ours whose residents are direct customers of the gas company, is an unreasonable refusal.

I hope the Los Angeles City Council abandons the notion of mandating automatic shut-off valves all over the city and mandates, instead, the installation of manual gas shut-off valves at the entrance of every mobile home park in the city. Mobile home residents should never again have to endure a repeat of that painful and preventable gas-fed disaster.

LAURIE BURKETT

Sylmar

Manager

Los Olivos Mobile Home Park

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