San Bruno Fire’s “Crime Scene” Designation Keeps Media Out

Photo by yipe

San Bruno police had a massive incident on their hands with the gas pipeline explosion and subsequent fire in the San Francisco suburb on Sept. 9, killing at least six people and destroying dozens of homes. But instead of designating it a disaster scene as you might expect, the police termed the 10-acre fire zone a crime scene, therefore prohibiting any media from entering, or really accurately covering, the scene. (And incidentally San Francisco Chronicle reporter Michael Cabanatuan says he was ordered out of the neighborhood before the crime scene declaration was even made.)

As the SFWeekly blog reports, this designation was unusual. Sure, police need to keep curiosity seekers, looters and anyone who would impede the recovery effort/investigation out of the area, but the press shouldn’t have been lumped in with that group. And at any scene, no matter the designation, police are allowed to restrict sensitive areas from press if they are worried it could be compromised — meaning, they could have let the press enter at least some parts of the 10-acre zone.

So what gives? Why is a gas pipeline explosion a crime? (PG&E will not be happy about that as they enter the litigation phase….) Was it just about control, as the Chronicle’s Cabanatuan said? SFWeekly inquired with the San Bruno Police Department but has yet to receive a response.

Article from SFWeekly

2 Responses to “San Bruno Fire’s “Crime Scene” Designation Keeps Media Out”

  1. 1 S.B September 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    The crime scene designation was obviously to protect PG&E from media scrutiny.

    Government supports the corporation foremost, just as we saw with the B.P spill. The corporation, and therefore the government, have no interest in allowing the free flow of information.

    Just my opinion.

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