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PG&E sets aside $100M fund for US blast victims

 An emergency worker walks through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a...
 Bob Vasquez, a volunteer and evacuee, helps with donation boxes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews do...
 Evacuee Les Vaccari, 78, waits for news about his home outside the evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP photo/Tony A...
 Alan Doulphus, right, a city worker, wheels out boxes of donated clothes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire...
 Evacuees Antoneeti Vaccari, left, puts a donated pair of shoe on her husband Les Vaccari outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday,...
 Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...
 Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...
 Geisha Williams, center, senior VP of Energy Delivery for Pacific Gas & Electric, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a to...
 California Rep. Jackie Speier, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in S...
 Hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. F...
 San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane talks with hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that  jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San...
 Evacuee Carmen Tobar, right, eats lunch as her son four month-old Armando takes a nap outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Se...
 Geisha Williams, center, senior VP of Energy Delivery for Pacific Gas & Electric, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a to...
 Michael Zamattia, right, points to a map of the homes where a gas line explosion tore through his neighborhood at the evacuation center in San Bruno,...
 Hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. F...
 PG&E workers help evacuees file paper work at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews doused the remnants of ...
 Hundreds of San Bruno residents who were displaced by Thursday's natural gas pipeline explosion wait in line to be escorted back to their homes as th...
 Tina Villareal leans on Nelson Alvarado while waiting to return to her home in a fire-ravaged San Bruno, Calif., neighborhood on Sunday, Sept. 12, 20...
 Harvey Devine and his wife, Alice, gather dust masks before being escorted back to their house as they gathered at Skyline College in San Bruno, Cali...
 Rev. Vincent Ring prays with parishioners during morning church services at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010....

Large Explosion

An emergency worker walks through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a...

Large Explosion

Bob Vasquez, a volunteer and evacuee, helps with donation boxes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews do...

Large Explosion

Evacuee Les Vaccari, 78, waits for news about his home outside the evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP photo/Tony A...

Large Explosion

Alan Doulphus, right, a city worker, wheels out boxes of donated clothes at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire...

Large Explosion

Evacuees Antoneeti Vaccari, left, puts a donated pair of shoe on her husband Les Vaccari outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday,...

Large Explosion

Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...

Large Explosion

Emergency workers walk through an area of burned homes in San Bruno, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. On Thursday, a gas line rupture caused a la...

Large Explosion

Geisha Williams, center, senior VP of Energy Delivery for Pacific Gas & Electric, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a to...

Large Explosion

California Rep. Jackie Speier, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in S...

Large Explosion

Hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. F...

Large Explosion

San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane talks with hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San...

Large Explosion

Evacuee Carmen Tobar, right, eats lunch as her son four month-old Armando takes a nap outside an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Se...

Large Explosion

Geisha Williams, center, senior VP of Energy Delivery for Pacific Gas & Electric, spoke to hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents that jammed a to...

Large Explosion

Michael Zamattia, right, points to a map of the homes where a gas line explosion tore through his neighborhood at the evacuation center in San Bruno,...

Large Explosion

Hundreds of displaced San Bruno residents jammed a town hall meeting at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. F...

Large Explosion

PG&E workers help evacuees file paper work at an evacuation center in San Bruno, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. Fire crews doused the remnants of ...

Large Explosion

Hundreds of San Bruno residents who were displaced by Thursday's natural gas pipeline explosion wait in line to be escorted back to their homes as th...

APTOPIX Large Explosion

Tina Villareal leans on Nelson Alvarado while waiting to return to her home in a fire-ravaged San Bruno, Calif., neighborhood on Sunday, Sept. 12, 20...

Large Explosion

Harvey Devine and his wife, Alice, gather dust masks before being escorted back to their house as they gathered at Skyline College in San Bruno, Cali...

Large Explosion

Rev. Vincent Ring prays with parishioners during morning church services at St. Roberts Catholic Church in San Bruno, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010....

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Monday it was establishing a $100 million fund for victims of a huge gas pipeline explosion that left at least four people dead and destroyed 37 homes.
The money was intended to help victims meet their day-to-day needs and would be provided with no strings attached, Chris Johns, president of PG&E, said.
The company previously gave the city of San Bruno $3 million to help cover its expenses related to the blast, Johns said.
"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 announcement came shortly after residents of homes destroyed or badly damaged in the blast left a private meeting with PG&E and city officials. The residents were told they would be receiving checks for as much as $50,000 this week to get back on their feet, said Bob Pelligrini, 48, whose home was leveled.
The checks would not preclude residents from taking further legal action against PG&E, Pelligrini 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.
He was in San Francisco when his wife, who is eight months pregnant, called him screaming Thursday on the day of the blast. She fled barefoot from their home with their three young children.
The mood at the meeting was somber, especially when some attendees pressed officials to identify remains found in the damaged homes, Magoolaghan said. People who asked those questions were taken to a separate room by police.
San Bruno police Chief Neil Telford referred all media questions on fatalities to the San Mateo County Coroner's Office.
The remains of at least four people have been found, and authorities have said four others were missing and at least 60 were injured, some critically. Two other people reported missing had been located, city spokeswoman Robyn Thaw said.
Coroner Robert Foucrault said investigators were still trying to confirm whether some of the remains were human.
Residents whose homes were yellow-tagged, meaning some damage, could have a chance to return to the dwellings as soon as Monday afternoon, said Aaron Aknin, San Bruno community development director. Those residents would be accompanied by building inspectors and given one hour to retrieve possessions.
Homeowners whose houses suffered major damage or were destroyed would initially be allowed to tour the blast area by bus and take photographs to submit as part of insurance claims, Aknin said.
They could set up one-on-one appointments later in the week to see their damaged properties up close.
Evacuees who fled after the blast but whose houses were not damaged began returning home Sunday.
The explosion and ensuing fire destroyed 37 homes and damaged eight.
Meanwhile, federal investigators were probing why the line ruptured and the explosion sent a 28-foot (9-meter) segment of pipe onto a street some 100 feet (30 meters) away while creating a crater 167 feet (51 meters) long and 26 feet (8 meters) wide.
Crews crated up the pipeline segment along with two sections from either side of the ruptured segment to send to a federal lab in Washington, D.C., for further examination.
Christopher Hart, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators want to speak with anyone who smelled gas in the days leading to the blast, especially anyone who reported the problem to PG&E or any other officials. Hart said investigators have not yet seen any record of gas leak complaints.
"We're pursuing those rumors, and we've obtained records _ not only from PG&E but from other places where people might call. And so far, we have not been able to verify that anybody smelled gas and called it in," Hart said.
PG&E spokesman Andrew Souvall said there had been no gas leak complaints to the utility's call centers from the San Bruno neighborhood in the week before the blast.
Hart said investigators also want to talk to residents who might have noticed dead vegetation around the rupture spot, which can be a sign of a leak.


Updated : 2021-10-25 05:17 GMT+08:00