SAN BRUNO (KPIX 5) — On the tenth anniversary of the deadly and tragic San Bruno pipeline explosion, an ominous fire-orange cloud hovered over the city once again.
But life has moved on for neighbors like Jesus Quintos, who lived through the pipeline explosion and stayed through the rebuilding.READ MORE: Fawn Fire Update: 'I See My Life Gone'; Intentionally Set Blaze Burns Homes; Thousands Force To Evacuate
The tenth anniversary of the disaster was a day for remembering his neighbors who were lost.
“That’s something I miss. Just waving back at each other. That means a lot,” Quintos said.
The explosion happened just after 6 p.m. on September 9th, 2010, when a PG&E gas main ruptured and blew up in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood near Skyline Boulevard.
The blast and fire took the lives of eight people, destroyed 38 homes and badly damaging many more.
“All of a sudden the house just shook,” said Caroline Gray.
She and her husband Charlie lived up the street from the explosion and
barely escaped before their house burned to the ground.
“The fire came up, somebody said, a thousand feet in the air,” remembered Charlie Gray.READ MORE: 'Highway Slingshot Shooter' Fires Ball Bearings at Windows Along San Jose's Guadalupe Freeway
“It could have happened in your city, someone else’s city. It could have happened to your mother, your child,” said former San Bruno mayor Jim Ruane.
In the aftermath of the disaster, much of the attention centered on PG&E.
Defective welds were blamed for the pipeline rupture and several lawsuits resulted in over a billion dollars in fines.
But Ruane has always tried to return focus to the victims.
“It’s more than financial viability that caused this. It’s people lost their lives,” Ruane said.
PG&E eventually paid a $70 million settlement to San Bruno which is is paying for a new aquatic center, scholarships and a memorial park
where a new touchscreen display is set up telling the story of the
“It’s a total change. One, because there were three houses here and now there’s a park,” Caroline Gray said. “A lot of the new neighbors don’t
realize it’s a memorial park.”
A park to enjoy for some, but with bittersweet feelings for others who were touched directly by the fatal explosion.MORE NEWS: 3 East Bay School Districts Go All-In on Student Vaccine Mandates
“I miss the old neighborhood, but I welcome the new neighbors,” said Quintos.