More burned San Bruno homes meet bulldozer fate

Three months after the San Bruno gas explosion, the disaster has officially claimed three more homes.

A 30-inch transmission pipeline owned by PG&E exploded Sept. 9, and the initial blast and fire killed eight people and injured dozens more.

It took an hour and 46 minutes for PG&E to shut off fuel in the line, during which time first-responders tried to keep the fire from spreading. In the end, 35 homes were completely destroyed and were demolished this fall. Fifty-eight other homes were damaged.

On Tuesday night, the San Bruno City Council approved a plan to demolish three more homes that had been yellow-tagged, meaning they were too damaged to occupy but not so damaged that they required bulldozing.

Additional inspections by insurance companies determined that the homes were so damaged it would be more expensive to repair than replace them.

The city will receive $90,000 from PG&E to pay for the demolition by a private contractor.

One of the homes that will be demolished is owned by Arturo Vasquez, who was home the night of the fire but escaped unscathed. When he returned to his home, almost everything in it had been licked by flames.

The home was initially red-tagged, which meant no one could enter it. After a reassessment, it was downgraded to a yellow tag, so Vasquez and his wife could enter.

“If you could name a piece of furniture in your home, from a chair to a lamp, it was destroyed,” he said. “But there were nooks and crannies where there were little surprises, mementos that didn’t burn.”

Now Vasquez is ready for the home to be demolished.

“It’s been kind of an ongoing source of angst. There’s so much mold in it now. We’re ready to have it torn down,” he said. “It’ll be a relief to have that out of the way and feel like we’re moving forward.”

kworth@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalPeninsulaSan BrunoSan Francisco

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Changing zoning in San Francisco neighborhoods where single family homes prevail is crucial in the effort to achieve equity. (Shutterstock)
To make SF livable, single-family zoning must be changed

Let’s move to create affordable housing for working class families

Most Read