STATEMENT BY LADWP CEO & GM DAVID NAHAI REGARDING DEADLY EXPLOSION IN WESTCHESTER
March 28, 2008
STATEMENT BY LADWP CEO & GM DAVID NAHAI REGARDING
DEADLY EXPLOSION IN WESTCHESTER
LADWP CEO & General Manager David Nahai released the following statement today regarding the explosion on March 26, 2008, that killed Los Angeles City Firefighter Brent Lovrein and critically injured firefighter Anthony Guzman:
“On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Water and Power, I express our profound condolences to the family of firefighter Brent Lovrein. Our hearts bleed for his family and we are praying for the quick and complete recovery of Tony Guzman. Since this tragic incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, LADWP power system crews have assisted the LA Fire Department, forensic examiner and federal authorities in their around the clock investigation into the cause of this deadly blast. Based upon their investigation at this time, these authorities believe the deadly blast was caused by a fire that originated from a ground fault in an electrical conduit that was fed out of the underground vault. Smoke and vapors traveled through the conduit system into a into the electrical room where the blast that killed Firefighter Lovrein and injured Tony Guzman occurred.
We now know that the underground “secondary” cable that appears to have failed was approximately 60-years old and was based upon 1930’s technology. Newer technology, which the LADWP installs when making repairs or replacing cable uses synthetic casing, which is safer. The lead-jacketed cable implicated in this incident was commonly used in cities throughout the Country and here in Los Angeles where there is nearly 15,000 miles of it installed within the DWP system.
This is the first time that any of our staff can recall that a cable failure such as this had such devastating consequences. Normally, a failure such as this will result in a power outage. And while we believe this to be a freak occurrence, it is a symptom of a much greater problem that we must address. The power reliability program (PRP) we have proposed will begin the necessary investment to address the age, safety and reliability of both our water and power infrastructure that is old and straining under the demands that have been placed upon it.”