Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Mayor Jim Ruane spoke yesterday about demanding stricter pipeline safety regulations and reforms at the California Public Utilities Commission.
With the three-year anniversary of the San Bruno fire and explosion on the horizon, the city held a press conference yesterday to update the public on rebuilding the Crestmoor neighborhood.
So far, of the 38 homes destroyed by the explosion, 16 have completed construction and are occupied, according to the city. Five homes are actively under construction with active building permits, while one home is preparing plans for a building permit submittal. Sixteen parcels remain vacant.
Mayor Jim Ruane also spoke about demanding stricter pipeline safety regulations and reforms at the California Public Utilities Commission.
“We had to step up, even as a small town,” Ruane said at the event. “This could have been prevented.”
Eight people died as a result of a Pacific Gas and Electric pipeline explosion and fire, while 66 people were injured on Sept. 9, 2010 in the Crestmoor neighborhood. The explosion and resulting shock wave registered as a magnitude 1.1 earthquake and forever changed the city.
In late August, it was revealed that PG&E used flawed documents to improperly declare two Peninsula natural-gas pipelines safe, according to state regulators. Last fall, when regulators dug up the connector line in San Carlos, known as Line 147, to repair a minor leak, workers discovered that the pipe was of lesser quality than company records indicated. There were several stretches of pipe that had a problematic type of welded seam.
“When I heard, I thought, here we go again,” Ruane said. “It’s disgusting. A lot of this stuff is coming to the surface now and it’s frustrating because we’re the ones who lost eight people and are rebuilding a neighborhood.”
Moving forward, the maximum fine and penalty against PG&E is $3.8 billion, which is $2.45 billion after-tax dollars.
“We cannot bring back the innocent lives tragically lost at the hands of PG&E and the CPUC, but we can make sure the legacy of the tragic disaster in San Bruno becomes an opportunity to prevent future negligence by PG&E and stronger, active oversight by the CPUC,” Ruane said in a statement. “The PG&E disaster in San Bruno, and the failure of state regulators, must serve as a wake-up call for PG&E, the CPUC and state elected leaders to put public safety first over utility profits and cozy relationships between utilities and those responsible to regulate them.”
Additionally, of the 17 homes that were badly damaged, 15 have completed repairs, one is nearly complete after a total rebuild and one home has completed repairs but has not finalized the building permit. The city hopes reconstruction of homes in vacant lots owned by San Bruno and PG&E will begin next year.
The city is also completing full reconstruction of the infrastructure in the entire neighborhood. Replacement of water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure in the immediate fire damaged area was completed last spring. The underground infrastructure replacement is expected to be completed in spring 2014. All the infrastructure work is being funded by the Crestmoor (Glenview) Trust Fund established by the city and PG&E.
The last piece of reconstruction work will be replacement of the curb, gutter and sidewalk throughout the neighborhood. There will also be repaving of the streets and a new streetlight system.
There will be a remembrance service at the explosion site on Monday, Sept. 9 from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. at Claremont and Glenview drives. Light refreshments and beverages will be served in celebration of families who have completed reconstruction and are returning home.
For more information on the rebuild effort visit rebuildcrestmoor.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105