Residents are returning to their homes, days after a terrible fireball engulfed hundreds of homes in the community of San Bruno, California, near the San Francisco International Airport, but many questions still remain unanswered for the people that live there.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. President Chris Johns confirmed that the blast, which occurred just before 6:30 pm Thursday, was caused by a ruptured steel gas pipe buried three feet underground. The exact cause is still unknown.
Federal employees are still trying to determine more about the exact causes of the blast. A 28 foot section of the shattered pipeline was transported to the National Transportation Safety Board office in Washington D.C. for analysis.
Four are confirmed dead, and more than fifty injured, with eight remaining in the hospital in critical condition. Cadaver dogs still continue to search for the dead, with inconclusive results in areas where the damage was extensive. Authorities say they still aren't certain if the remains the dogs are finding are human or animal.
While 212 homes have been approved today for people to return, 58 homes have been badly damaged or destroyed by the massive blast. As part of the plan, authorities will escort residents into their homes, test the safety of the electricity and gas and then give them the approval to stay. While water, gas and electricity has been restored to the area, land-line phones and streetlights are still not working.
The plan was announced in a community meeting at the nearby St. Robert's Catholic church. PG&E spokeswoman Geisha Williams was met with over 600 angry residents fielding questions. Williams told them that she could not provide a map showing the location of the high-pressure transmission lines, saying, "There is a security issue associated with gas transmission." One resident reportedly replied with loud profanity.
"We know our customers are extremely nervous, and who wouldn't be," Williams told local press. "We are going to be as responsible as we possibly can, while still retaining security. We need to figure out how to do that. We don't know how to do that. We are trying to figure out how to make that happen."