Moment of Impact

Gas station surveillance camera captures blast and fireball

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Watch as people just a few blocks away from the deadly gas line explosion in San Bruno witness the blast and fireball. (Published Monday, Sep 13, 2010)

    The official death toll remained at four Monday, but the number of missing and presumed dead went down to three.  The Bullis family, which consists of Greg Bullis, his mother Lavonne and his son William, were in a home near the blast area and by all accounts did not survive. 

    The forth unidentified fatality has now been identified. Frank Torres confirmed the death of his 81-year-old grandmother Elizabeth Torres to the Associated Press. He said his mother, aunt and uncle also were seriously hurt and remained hospitalized with burn injuries. 

    Ground Video: Inside the Explosion Zone

    [BAY] Ground Video: Inside the Explosion Zone
    Our cameras were allowed into the hot zone 24 hours after a PG&E pipe exploded destroying many lives and homes. (Published Sunday, Sep 12, 2010)

    The other three victims are 20-year-old Jessica Morales who was watching the football game with her boyfriend at the time.  Jacquelin Grieg and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa also died Thursday.  Jacquelin worked for the Californi Public Utilities Commission for more than 20 years. Janessa was an eighth grade student at St. Cecelia Catholic school in San Francisco. 

    The explosion also destroyed 37 homes.

    Monday, people in those destroyed homes and about a dozen homes that were severely damaged were able to see their property for the first time.  The people in the damaged homes were given an hour to go inside and get some of their belongings.   The other unlucky ones were taken by bus to see their decimated property from a window seat.

    Newly found surveillance video from a gas station just a few blocks away from the explosion shows the power of the natural gas line blast.

    A surveillance camera at the Econo Gasoline station at San Bruno Ave and Glenview Drive captured the moment of impact.

    You can see one man getting ready to fill up his car when something catches his attention. That something was a huge fireball caused by an explosion of a 30-inch pipe.

    There is no sound on the tape, but people said there was a deafening whooshing noise that reminded them of a jet engine.

     A man who was filling up left the station to get away from the danger but the owner said he returned later to pay for his fuel.

    Also Monday, PG&E's president announced the utility is launching a $100 million fund for victims of last week's gas pipeline explosion.
         
    Chris Johns said the money will be used to help meet day-to-day needs and would come with no strings attached.
         
    Johns said his company's tab has already hit $3 million.

    The people who lost their homes or suffered severe damage were informed during a private meeting Monday morning that they would receive $50,000 checks.
         
    A homeowner named Bob Pelligrini told the Associated Press the checks would not preclude them from taking further legal action against PG&E.  "It is very important that this community know that there are funds, enough funds, to be able to rebuild their lives and this community," Johns said.

     "The check is nice, but that's not what I need. I need a permanent home, a nice, safe place to live," said Bill Magoolaghan, 46, who also lost his house.

    As a direct result of the explosion, the California Public Utilities Commission has ordered Pacific Gas and Electric to inspect its entire natural gas system.

    The inspection order was made to ensure the integrity of PG&E's natural gas pipeline system, according to a press release from the CPUC. The CPUC is a state agency that covers not just the Bay Area, but the entire state.

    CPUC president Michael Peevey said he wanted to assure residents that immediate action will be taken. "We will direct PG&E to immediately begin an inspection of its natural gas transmission system, as well as to take other immediate actions to ensure safety and to assist in our investigation,” Peevey said.

    Other than using the word "immediate,"  no time line of the inspections was given.

    Meanwhile, federal investigators continue their probe as to why the line ruptured and exploded. The final report is not expected for a year.