San Bruno continues to rebuild nearly three years after PG&E pipeline exploded 

click to enlarge San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane, right, — flanked by City Council members Ken Ibarra, left, and Rico Medina — says the city is pursuing penalties totaling more than $2 billion against PG&E for its role in the blast that killed eight people in 2010. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane, right, — flanked by City Council members Ken Ibarra, left, and Rico Medina — says the city is pursuing penalties totaling more than $2 billion against PG&E for its role in the blast that killed eight people in 2010.

Nearly three years after a PG&E gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, the city's mayor said residents are still rebuilding their devastated neighborhood, and city leaders continue to advocate for stricter oversight of the state's natural gas infrastructure.

The explosion in San Bruno's Crestmoor neighborhood Sept. 9, 2010, destroyed 38 homes, killed 8 people, injured more than 60 others and "left a massive hole in our community," Mayor Jim Ruane said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

"Since tragedy struck our city three years ago this month, nearly half of the destroyed homes in the Crestmoor neighborhood have been rebuilt," Ruane said.

Of the 38 homes that were destroyed, 16 have been rebuilt and are once again occupied, he said. Out of 17 homes that were burned and badly damaged, 15 have been fully repaired.

The city has so far spent more than $13 million to replace water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure in the immediate area of the explosion, a figure that is expected to grow as infrastructure repairs continue beyond the blast zone, Ruane said.

"A similar project to replace underground infrastructure is now underway in the rest of the neighborhood," he said.

City Manager Connie Jackson said the city continues to be an interested party in proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission, where a panel of administrative law judges is in the process of considering how much to penalize PG&E for the explosion.

San Bruno leaders have pledged to honor the lives of the eight who died in the explosion by ensuring that PG&E pays for its negligent safety standards and the CPUC is held responsible for its lack of oversight.

"We are calling on stronger and improved oversight by state regulators at the CPUC to understand why this happened and to make sure it never happens again," Ruane said.

A decision on how much the state will fine PG&E is expected to be handed down this fall. San Bruno officials and consumer advocates have called for a maximum penalty of more than $2 billion.

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