Peninsula News

Memorial plaque honors victims of San Bruno blast

Sunday, September 09, 2012
San Bruno memorial plaque Sunday is the two-year anniversary of the San Bruno pipeline explosion and fire. San Bruno survivors watch documentary about them

Two years ago Sunday, a gas pipeline explosion left San Bruno's Crestmoor neighborhood in ruins.

The September 9th blast was traced to an incomplete weld that led to the rupture of a 30-inch transmission line. The California Public Utilities Commission has yet to fine PG&E for what federal regulators called a number of failures leading up to the blast.

Eight people died in the explosion, 38 homes were destroyed. Eight of those homes have now been rebuilt, others are still in construction.

On Sunday night, neighbors commemorated the second anniversary during a ceremony. Dozens gathered at San Bruno City Park for the unveiling of a remembrance plaque, honoring the eight people who died. Placed on a new metal sculpture at the park, the plaque has each of the names of the eight people who died as a result of the PG&E pipeline explosion.

Family members and friends of the victims walked up to the plaque to take it all in. It was not easy for them, some of whom are still recovering from burn injuries that they suffered when they escaped. ABC7 News spoke to two daughters of Elizabeth Torres, the 81-year-old who died while trying to flee her home, "It's very emotional, cause I still at times can't believe she's gone, that it really happened," daughter Sandy Arnold said

Elizabeth's other daughter Cindy Braun added, "It's bittersweet, it's just nice that she's remembered, but I would rather her be here. So, at least she's a part of a place she really liked, she really liked this park."

ABC7 News also spoke with Pat Lazarus, who lost her home in the blast. She said it was important for her to come to the ceremony, "Just to acknowledge and remember these people and their families, if their families are here to be with them. And I think it's the right thing for San Bruno to do, to make something permanent to acknowledge these people."

As for the Crestmoor neighborhood, it's a full-blown construction zone. Crews work six days of the week to rebuild the homes that were destroyed.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill has authored three bills to reform pipeline oversight. All three passed the legislature and are waiting for the governor's signature.

The state public utilities commission has yet to levy any fines against PG&E. The utility faces numerous civil lawsuits.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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san bruno, san bruno fire, peninsula news, lilian kim
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