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UPDATE: 95 Percent of Damaged Area Searched; Locations of Damaged Homes Released

Officials say area still too hazardous to allow people to return to their homes.

UPDATE: 6:42 p.m.: Officials released a list of homes that were damaged in the fire, now confirmed at 37 homes rather than the previously reported 38 homes. However, officials said the area affected by the fire was still too hazardous to allow people to return to their homes.

"As a best case scenario, we may be able to release access to some of the areas by tomorrow at the earliest," said City Manager Connie Jackson. 

The following are the locations of the homes that were destroyed:

  • Glenview Drive: 970, 971, 981, 991, 1100, 1110, 1115, 1121, 1127
  • Earl Avenue: 1701, 1711, 1721
  • Claremont Drive: 1621, 1631, 1641, 1642, 1645, 1646, 1650, 1651, 1655, 1660, 1661, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700, 1701, 1710
  • Fairmont Drive: 1101, 1106, 1110, 1115, 1121
  • Concord Avenue: 2731, 2735, 2741

Here are the locations of the homes that suffered major damage:

  • Glenview Drive: 960
  • Claremont Drive: 1636

Here are the locations of the homes that suffered minor damage:

  • Fairmont Drive: 1120, 1127
  • Glenview Drive: 1127
  • Claremont Drive: 1720, 1721
  • Earl Avenue: 1731

5:32 p.m. National Transportation Safety Board estimates that as many as 170 homes were affected in Thursday's explosion and fire in San Bruno.

"The purpose of us being here is not just to understand what happened but why it happened so we can hopefully prevent something like this from happening in the future," said vice chairman Christopher Hart.

5:15 p.m.: San Bruno Patch Editor Martin Ricard will be updating this story soon, based on the events of a press conference currently being held.

The city has just released the agenda (see attached) with the details for tomorrow's town hall meeting at St. Robert's.  

Noon: Police reported this afternoon that officers arrested a looting suspect Thursday night, after the blast and fire that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood. Police Chief Neil Telford said the area is still being treated as a crime scene until a full evaluation of the damage is completed.

Search crews have searched 75 percent of the damaged area, officials said. Two additional search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the area to help clear debris while fire investigators assess the full scope of the blast and emergency personnel attempt to repair broken water and sewer lines. The National Transportation Safety Board also will be on the scene soon, officials said.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado said that he signed an executive order to help people affected by the blast. The order waives fees for replacing personal items that might have been lost in people's homes, such as driver's licenses and birth certificates. The state will be providing unemployment assistance to those in need.

The California Emergency Management Agency is coordinating state and local efforts to provide emergency assistance to victims. PG&E said it will be providing temporary housing, food and clothing. The Small Business Association, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also will be providing assistance.

City Manager Connie Jackson also said the City Council will be holding a town hall meeting at 2pm Saturday at St. Robert's Church.

City and state leaders said Friday morning they still haven't been able to determine the cause of the gas explosion that rocked the Crestmoor Canyon area Thursday. But they confirmed that four people had died in the fire and that, as of this morning, 75 percent of the fire has been contained and that only 38 homes were destroyed.

Seven other homes suffered damage, and 52 people were sent to the hospital with injuries, three of which were being treated for third-degree burns.

The damage also includes 50 threatened structures, according to Cal Fire. A total of 250 residences are impacted.

Officials also said four firefighters were injured in responding to the blaze in which fire agencies from throughout the area, including Cal Fire, were called to the scene. Four air tankers, a helicopter and 12 K-9s have also been deployed, officials said.

City Manager Connie Jackson said the areas most affected by the fire are on the following streets:

  • 1600 block and 1700 block of Claremont Drive
  • 900 block of Glenview Drive
  • 1700 block of Earl Avenue
  • 1100 block of Fairmont Drive
  • 2700 block of Concord Way

She said that emergency personnel are saying it is now safe for people on the east side of Crestmoor Drive to return to their homes.

The city is establishing a local assistance ceter at the Veterans Memorial Building, which will be open at 10am.

"The sun is shining but there is a dark cloud over our city," Mayor Jim Ruane said at a press conference Friday morning. "What we have to deal with in the immediate future is the stress, the anxiety and the uncertainties in the minds of all the people who have been affected and may have lost their homes."

PG&E President Chris Johns confirmed reports that there was a gas leak in the area before the explosion. As of 6am this morning, Johns said 700 electrical customers and 300 gas customers were still out of power. He said the power to the homes of 300 electrical customers should be restored by noon.

UPDATE: By the numbers: 38 homes destroyed; seven homes damaged; 52 people treated, three in critical condition; 15 acres affected; four firefighters injured; four people killed.

According to news reports, the death toll from Thursday's gas explosion and fire is at four and cadeaver dogs this morning will search the neighborhood near San Bruno Avenue and Skyline Boulevard for more victims.

Of four people being cared for at the St. Francis  Memorial Hospital's Bothin Burn Center in San Francisco, three are in critical condition, according to reports. Francisco General Hospital has three critical patients and one in serious condition.

The city is holding a press conference at 8 a.m. and San Bruno Patch Editor Martin Ricard will be there and will update the site as soon as possible.

Crews last night were unable to attempt search-and-rescue operations because it was too dangerous, a San Bruno spokesman said. Safety assessment teams planned to convene at 6 a.m. today to review the damage, spokesman John Alita said.

Units from nine cities in San Mateo County responded to the blaze, which burned more than 150 homes Thursday night, Alita said. More than 200 law enforcement officials were providing perimeter control Thursday night and early this morning.

PG&E president Chris Johns said that the company would "fully cooperate" with an investigation of the explosion and explore unconfirmed witness reports of the smell of gas in the area before the fireball erupted.

Without access to the gas lines, Johns said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the explosion, although he said PG&E was unaware of any of its crews working in the area this evening.

"It's a tragic event, and we really want to make sure that we can make this area safe right now," Johns said. Johns vowed that if the investigation finds that PG&E is at fault, "We will do the right thing for those involved."

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, whose district encompasses San Bruno, ventured into the heart of his community yesterday to assess the damage and develop a plan to assist those affected in coming weeks.

"My heart and prayers go out to the families and victims of this devastating tragedy," he said. All available state emergency resources have been deployed to San Bruno, including crews from the California Emergency Management Agency and Cal Fire.

Although emergency crews were focused on tackling the immediate problems at hand, Yee said that he traveled to San Bruno Thursday night to strategize a long-term recovery effort.

"We need to assess on a long-term basis how the locals are able to handle the housing, the food and the clothing of these particular displaced individuals," he said.

A thorough investigation of the fire's cause is expected to take weeks, and in the meantime, part of the recovery process could include the introduction of state legislation that would direct relief dollars to the affected region. "We will look at whatever we can do at the state level," Yee said.

Please check back with San Bruno Patch for more throughout the day, as we are sending a team of reporters into the community to write about the volunteer efforts, effects on schools and to tell your stories.

— Bay City News contributed to this report

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