Deadly Beirut explosion reinforced longtime fears around butane facility in San Pedro

Local news
San Pedro residents Janet Schaaf-Gunter and Chuck Hart fear butane tanks near Gaffey Street could cause a deadly explosion.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

San Pedro residents Janet Schaaf-Gunter and Chuck Hart fear butane tanks near Gaffey Street could cause a deadly explosion.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

For decades, San Pedro residents have feared the massive tanks that store butane just off Gaffey Street could fuel deadly fires and explosions close to homes, shops and schools.

Neighbors have fought unsuccessfully in court and pressed their case with local, state and federal officials, but the San Pedro site has persisted through years of public hearings, government reports and competing assessments of its risks.

When a massive explosion devastated Beirut last month, residents said the shocking footage only reinforced their long-standing fears. The Los Angeles Unified School District invoked the Beirut blast in a recent letter to the L.A. Fire Department, calling for a new assessment of the site’s vulnerability during an earthquake.

And a congresswoman is pushing for a new analysis of its risks. The Beirut explosion “absolutely adds urgency to these efforts,” said Ron Eckstein, spokesman for Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro).

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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