SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will pay a record $38 million fine for a series of safety violations that led to a fatal natural gas explosion in a Sacramento suburb on Christmas Eve 2008.

The San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/rGpQ5i) reports the fine was approved Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission.

PG&E and state regulators earlier this year had agreed to a $26 million fine, but an administrative law judge rejected the settlement as too low.

The explosion in Rancho Cordova killed 72-year-old Wilbert “Bill” Paana and injured five others, including Paana’s daughter and granddaughter.

PG&E reached an undisclosed, out-of-court settlement with Paana’s family in 2009

Investigators found PG&E installed incorrect pipe during a repair in 2006 and was slow in responding to a leak report the day of the blast.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press)

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