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tv   Today in the Bay  NBC  September 10, 2010 3:30am-3:49am PST

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new this morning, fire still smoldering in san bruno after a massive explosion. first light will show the extent of the damage. you can hear the disturbing news that neighbors smelled gas in the area for a week. >> the huge explosion prompts evacuations across san bruno this morning we have the latest coming up here with the red cross. we have complete coverage of this neighborhood explosion, all morning, friday, september 10th, today in the bay.
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good morning. i'm laura garcia-cannon. >> i'm scott mcgrew, in for brent cannon. we start with new developments overnight in this deadly fire. >> crews are still on the scene trying to make sure the fire is completely out. when the sun comes up, we should get the full extent of the damage. >> right now, at least one person is confirmed dead, dozens of others are injured. crews have not been able to attempt search and rescue operations because of the dangerment. >> we know 53 homes are destroyed, another 120 damaged. officials say so far more than 100 residents are evacuated from the area as crews work to bring the fire under control. it blackened ten acres and is at least 50% contained. power is cut off to the area. the cause of the explosion is still under investigation. also all schools in the san bruno park school district are closed today until further notice. for more information go to the
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district's website,, or call 650-616-7180. this morning neighbors in the area are lobbing serious accusations at pg&e. bob redell is live in san bruno this morning. neighbor says they smelled gas coming out of street gutters for a week? >> about a week and a half. good morning to you. you are correct. i'll have more of that in a minute. i wanted to update you on information. the last we heard officially from the fire officials was this this fire was roughly 50% contained. but this morning, about 20, 30 minutes ago i talked to a fire official with the cal department of emergency services, and they tell us that they believe that number has increased. let me give you a lay of the land. we are on glenn view that cro cross street is san bruno.
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if you zoom in, will you see a white glow of smoke. that's where the fire is contained. this person i spoke to said they were under the impression that this fire should be close to 100% contained by dawn. right now everything in that area that is going to burn has burned, according to him. in other words, the homes caught in that zone are gone. the foundations is all that remain. what they have is smoldering debris. his concern is that if the winds were to pick up, you could see another flair-up of flames. that's one reason for concern. that's why there are so many firefighters out here. 53 homes destroyed, more than 100 damaged. one person confirmed dead. there's another report that more people have been killed, but that's not been confirmed about 20 people were taken to the hospital last night. our understanding is that several of those people are still there in critical condition. this neighborhood caught fire, it blew up just after 6:00,
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around 6:15 last night. pg&e has confirmed it was a rupture from one of their gas lines. they do not know the cause, as you mentioned earlier, there was a neighbor who said they smelled gas in this neighborhood just about a week and a half ago. >> just the last week and a half, pg&e was up in our neighborhood telling me and other people to shut the garage doors, stay inside, they're investigating the smell. took off, didn't let anybody know what happened after that. the aftermath has to be this. what else could it be? >> have been some unconfirmed reports from neighbors that they smelled gas in this area for a week now. have you been able to research that and find out if that was true? or find out if that was true or if anyone called that in to pg & e? >> that will be part of the investigation. we don't know those answers yet but those will be part of the things that get investigated quickly. >> that was the president of
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pg&e, chris johns. it's going to be hard to know whether we get those answers today. very doubtful. back here at the command post, we're south of the fire scene itself, lieutenant governor abe maldonado is out here. he is being briefed by fire officials. our understanding is that he will speak with the press later this morning. reporting live in san bruno, bob redell, "today in the bay." >> the explosion shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet in the air, sent people running for safety. some spent the night in emergency shelters. we turn to christie smith at the american red cross shelter for evacuees. good morning. >> reporter: good morning to you. i have not heard this said yet, i wanted to say it, that as soon as we got in the area of sfo, we were coming from the east bay, you can really still smell smoke out here. it kind of smells like the aftermath of a fireworks show. it's quite thick in the air this morning. right we're at the bayhill
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shopping center. basically what this is is a clearinghouse for people who are displac displaced, for evacuees to come and get help. earlier i was told they had some samtrans buses here to get people to buses. earlier evacuees were sharing incredible stories of escaping the flames, i spoke briefly with a red cross spokesperson this morning, he said they have already helped dozens, perhaps more than a hundred people. i asked for an exact count, he said we don't even know that. the best i can give you is an inaccurate estimate. earlier we spoke with a woman who got out just in time. >> i was four houses away. by the time we got the cars out, it was so hot. we went up to the top of the hill for about ten minutes and
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everyone said leave. >> now, i asked this morning what will they do if more people show up here needing help, because frankly that's why they're out here this morning. they say they expect that. they'll take them in, give them water and drive them over to two other shelters. there is also a store open, a pharmacy helping them out as well. the last person who came in here needing help, that was about 2:00 this morning. but they will stay out here for the duration. that's the latest from here, i'm christie smith, back to you. >> thank you. we have a number of different ways of looking at this and getting information about it. it includes under the ticker here below us, we will continue to run this information. call 650-616-7180 for more information from the city of san bruno for help from the red cross call 1-888-4-helpbay. we will continue to run these
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all over in the tickers throughout the day. >> exactly. you can refer to that. look at the remains are going to be amazing to look at as the sun comes up. charred remains of only chimneys left of so many homes and the gruesome way they will have to go through it. >> it is still hot in there. they cannot get in there. it has not been declared safe. they will go house to house, the firefighters will after the dawn and we can get a better idea as to what is going on. but after everything has been declared safe. again, it is still smoldering and smoky, so they are waiting to get into that area. >> just goes on and on and on as you see the chopper pictures live from the helicopters flying over the scene. not only did you have huge plumes of smoke and fire, but then the winds pushed it along.
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kris sanchez has a look at the forecast forecast. >> i was watching in that video, the huge plumes of smoke and the huge trees in the background, luckily not a lot of wind this morning, but that will change. by 7:00 this morning, winds will pick up 5 to 15 miles per hour, and picking up more than that around the noontime, and this will be serious business, 11:00, we expect to see winds picking up almost to 25 miles per hour, that's not counting gusts. luckily for the firefighters there, the temperatures will remain relatively normal, so that they will have good working conditions, so long as those winds don't get worse than that. for the rest of us, 8:00, patchy clouds, temperatures around 50 degrees. 60s by the noontime hour. by 4:00, after school time, talking around 70 degrees. 67 in san francisco. 78 in san jose. much warmer in the east bay
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area. livermore, 82. gilroy, 82. the big, big story today is going to be that weather story, the wind story for the firefighters in san bruno. we will keep our eyes on that one and get you your seven-day forecast. >> thank you very much. want to check in with mike inouye. you want to steer clear of that area. you won't be let in. >> the surface streets are closed. one of the surface streets, s skyline reopened a few moments ago, however do not head there unless you are directed to. all of that activity going on. still smoke smoldering. fire activity going on. as the sun comes up, we will see further slowing along the 280 area, a lot of smoke and fire smoldering in the area, speeds heading down to 50 in spots as
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you are passing by. at the airport where christie smith told you they were smelling smoke, one of those avenues is the san mateo bridge. moving smoothly now, but we will watch that coming out of the san mateo hills heading up to 280. southbound we have your typical slowing out of daley city, 280 approaching 380. avoid those city streets if you can at all today. our thoughts are with anyone. power outages will cause a problem for signals on streets as well. >> we have jeff smith with pg&e on the phone. can you hear us? >> yes, i can. how are you? >> doing just fine. you are on with scott mcgrew and laura garcia-cannon m one thing we are waiting for is this area to be declared safe. from pg&e standpoint where are you as far as controlling any
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gas? >> just first and foremost, i want to say our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this terrible situation. it's a tremendous tragedy. our priority right now is helping the area stay safe. we have crews on the scene and we are working with emergency officials on that, and we'll continue do so until the situation is determined to be completely safe. in the meantime we are working with emergency responders and making sure the area is safe. >> am i interpreting that to say that as of it, right now pg&e and the fire department have not declared the area safe? >> we are working closely with those emergency responders, working to make the situation safe. >> jeff, can you respond to the fact that neighbors say they called pg&e at least a week and a half before complaining of smells of gas in the area? >> that's speculation that's just too early to tell now.
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obviously there's a lot of information that is out there, a lot of questions will be asked. those questions need to be -- should be answered as the investigation goes forward. certainly much of that information will be available as the investigation unfolds, but at this point in time our focus is on those directly impacted by this terrible situation. we're working with the red cross to provide emergency shelter for those in need, and those questions being asked, those will be answered as the investigation goes forward. right now our focus is on the individuals who have been effected directly thistragedy. >> so you are not claiming responsibility at this moment. >> well, we know a gas line was ruptured if it determined to be pg&e's, we will take responsibility. >> let's talk about that gas line. is it capped?
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has it been flushed? >> it's too early to tell those specifics. it's a fluid situation, as you might imagine what is transpiring out there. we are continuing to work with local officials to make it safe. some of the details are still being worked through now. we will continue to work with local officials on scene to make the situation safe, and that is part of that process. >> what do you do? do you have crews on stand-by at the scene? >> we have crews on-site ready to respond. we are working with local emergency responders on that as well. we work closely with them whenever there's any type of emergency response. that's what we're doing, working closely with them to assess the situation, where it's safe to enter and do whatever work that needs to be. working closely with those officials to make sure it's done in a safe way that's safe not only for our customers that have
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been directly impacted in such a tragic way but also for the crews responding to the situation. we want to make sure we maintain their safety. >> jeff smith is with pg&e, we would like to talk to you later in the newscast, if we could. especially if you notify us able to declare that area safe and able to get crews in there. we would like to be the first to know. >> absolutely. thank you very much. >> jeff smith with pg&e, talking about how the area is not yet safe. they don't know exactly the status of that gas line. again, it's still hot there. it is smoldering and dark and unsafe. they will do house-to-house searches, hopefully finding nothing. >> exactly. >> we don't know. >> a lot of assessment needs to happen. hopefully they can move in and try to repair that line. >> is 4:45. just ahead, continuing coverage of the massive neighborhood fire in san bruno. >> we will hear from neighbors who say they smelled gas for a week. and survivors talk about their
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esca escape to safety. they say they had seconds to react. pe
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welcome back. want to check in once again with mike inouye this morning. he has a look at the roads closed around the san bruno area where the fireball happened. >> laura, good morning to you and good morning to scott. the local roads around the fire, the epicenter, talking about the initial reports of skyline at san bruno avenue. skyline has reopened. that does not mean you should
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head to the area. schools are closed, check the bottom of your screen for contact numbers and websites but the off-ramps are also


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