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Four Years After Pipeline Explosion, San Bruno Neighborhood Still Rebuilding

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Allen-Martin_BIO-HEAD Allen Martin
Allen Martin anchors the KPIX 5 newscasts each weeknight at 5pm and ...
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SAN BRUNO (CBS SF) — Four years after a pipeline explosion tore through San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood, the area is still rebuilding.

The potential for even more construction has neighbors nearing the point of exhaustion.

“It absolutely was a traumatic experience,” said Dr. Debra Marks, a psychologist and San Bruno resident. “I was home at the time of the explosion. The ground shaking, the house moving.”

MORE: Complete San Bruno Pipeline Explosion Coverage

Marks lived through the blast and now she and her neighbors are living through some serious construction fatigue.

“We are all — and I think I can speak for everyone there — very tired of what’s gone on because it’s not over,” she said.

There are still about 10 vacant lots yet to be rebuilt and the roads are a mess.

“It’s never gonna end,” said San Bruno resident Maria Orrante. “It’ll never end.”

The major infrastructure work beneath the roads will likely go on for at least another year.

“Right now, I think everyone is learning to deal with it,” Orrante said.

There could be even more construction on the horizon. A proposed development, just two blocks away from the blast site, would replace a church with more than two dozen homes.

“You can’t imagine that,” Orrante said. “Up there — in that little spot? You can’t imagine it.”

But while that development is just a proposal, neighbors say all the noise and house-shaking construction work builds on painful memories.

“Everything that goes on in the neighborhood can be a potential trigger for that original trauma,” Marks said. “It would be real nice to have a break, a pause, before any more construction or development occurs.”

Four years after the explosion, the Crestmoor neighborhood is still rebuilding and trying to find a way past a disaster that will never go away.

“Like my dad said, it’s progress,” Orrante said. “What are you going to do? You have to keep living — and go around it. That’s what we’re going to have to do.”

On Wednesday, KPIX 5 spoke off camera with the mayor and city manager of San Bruno. They say the proposal is still in the very early stages — so early that they can’t yet comment on it.

But they did say they everything will be taken into consideration before anything is approved.

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