Crews wrap up San Bruno explosion clean up

October 12, 2010 7:32:26 PM PDT
In San Bruno PG&E is now promising to install automatic shut-off valves on more of its gas lines and the massive demolition job at the site of the disaster a month ago ended Wednesday.

It is amazing what the crews have done in a short amount of time. The debris-filled lots were cleared and residents in the neighborhood say it is a sign it is time to move forward.

"We have wonderful neighbors that are across the street have three daughters, two little grandbabies. Now it is just nothing," says San Bruno resident Nellie Bishop.

Bishops' new view shows an empty lot across the street. Five weeks after the horrific pipeline explosion charred debris and twisted metal have now been removed. Now begins the rebuilding of her neighborhood. She is ready for her friends to return.

"Over half of the neighbors I've talked to are coming back so is happy about that. Let's get back and start over," says Bishop.

Seven tons of debris were removed. Home site property markers are in place and Wednesday crews were shoring up the barren landscape for the winter rains and runoff -- a concern of people in the neighborhood.

"The water from the rains is going to run down this street, so it gets really wet here, it's going to flood, it's going to get into the lawns. If there's contaminates up there, there's going to be contaminates down here for all the neighbors to be concerned about," says San Bruno resident Bill Magoolaghan.

Soil and air samples are taken daily. While the asbestos was removed with the debris, they have found elevated levels of metals.

"We found two samples that are showing to be slightly elevated for arsenic, for instance the background level we're shooting for is 14 parts per million. We found samples that were 16 and 20 parts per million, so just slightly over," says Dean Peterson from San Mateo's Environmental Health Services.

As a sign of moving forward, the last bit of debris was shoveled up by city leaders and residents.

"Usually I'm involved in shovel turning when something kicks off. This is the first time I've done it when we were actually the last bit of debris off a site, but in fact it is a new beginning," says San Bruno Major Jim Ruane.

To help get the building started in the San Bruno neighborhood, the City Council will consider waving all permit fees, which is about $14,000 to get new homes up and going, and say they want to cut in half the time it takes to get all those building plans in place.

The City Council meeting is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. at the San Bruno Senior Center.

The San Francisco Giants donated $120,000 to the fire relief fund.


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