The armored amphibious vehicle that caught fire on Camp Pendleton Wednesday morning, sending 14 Marines and a Navy corpsman to area hospitals for serious burn injuries, struck a natural gas line during routine pre-deployment training.
Although San Diego Gas & Electric Co. supplies natural gas to the sprawling North County base, the utility said it was not an SDG&E line that ignited.
“We are aware of a gas incident that occurred on Camp Pendleton on Wednesday. We investigated and determined that an SDG&E gas line was not involved,” said Sempra Energy spokesman Joe Britton.
The brass at 1st Marine Division remained tight-lipped about the blaze that engulfed the Assault Amphibious Vehicle — called an “Amtrack” by the troops — around 9:33 a.m. Wednesday in the San Mateo section of the base.
Crewed by members of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, it was carrying a detachment from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment during the land-based portion of a pre-deployment Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation when the vehicle struck a gas line that was away from the main roadway.
In a Camp Pendleton utility guide published on Aug. 16, 2016, the Marine Corps mandated numerous safety measures for natural gas pipelines latticing the base.
All aboveground pipes and components are required to be primed and painted yellow — which identifies natural gas — and labeled. All new lines located in vegetated areas or located away from paved areas require special markers indicating the presence of natural gas. Markers are mandated on or near all taps, tees and caps continuously along natural gas lines so that Marines can see them from afar,…
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