Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is seeking a restraining order against the company whose employee shattered a gas line south of Bakersfield, sparking a devastating explosion.
Big N Deep Agricultural Development Co. and PG&E have pointed fingers at each other since the explosion at the northwest corner of Wible and Houghton roads on Nov. 13.
Now the utility company is taking legal action.
Denny Boyles, a spokesman for PG&E, provided a copy of a lawsuit filed in Kern County Superior Court Monday seeking the order.
It accuses Big N Deep owner Jeff Alexander of conducting excavation work without a PG&E standby person on site during his digs, violating government codes that regulate such digs and trespassing on PG&E facilities.
It also alleges another incident, on Dec. 2, when a Big N Deep ripper was working above another gas transmission line without a PG&E standby person.
The suit seeks both a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction blocking Alexander from doing any further digging without the standby person in place or in violation of government codes.
Larry Pickett, a spokesman for Big N Deep, said the company has received the lawsuit and is reviewing it. He said the company has no immediate comment.
Joseph Michael "Mike" Ojeda, 44, of Earlimart was excavating an agricultural field when the Caterpillar dozer and ripper he was using punctured a PG&E 3-foot-in-diameter, high-pressure gas transmission line.
Ojeda died in the explosion he triggered. A nearby home was destroyed as well.
Two people in that home, Gloria Ruckman and her mother, Amalia Leal, were severely burned as they fled the gas-fueled inferno that sent flames hundreds of feet into the air.
Ruckman’s infant son, whom she wrapped in a jacket, was not injured.