William Bullis, 17, his father Gregory Bullis, 50, and his grandmother Lavonne Bullis, 85, were three of the seven people killed when a natural gas pipeline ruptured on the evening of Sept. 9, sparking a fire that injured more than 50 other people and destroyed 37 homes.
Friday’s service, scheduled for 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, will be followed by a reception at Mills, the school in Millbrae where William had started his senior year just days before the disaster struck. Both events will honor all three family members.
During the school day Friday, Mills High School will also be offering ribbons to students who want to recognize William’s death, principal Paul Belzer said.
The disaster, which occurred two weeks ago today, has hit the school hard, but Belzer said the students have responded by organizing a fundraising drive to help people who lost their homes in the fire.
More than 200 of the school’s roughly 1,500 students live in San Bruno, Belzer said, so many students were directly affected by the disaster or knew people who were.
Additional counselors were also brought to the campus to help students cope with the disaster, and when it was confirmed that the members of the Bullis family were missing, the school made an announcement to the students and held a moment of silence, Belzer said.
He said that although William was “a quiet student, he was well-liked.”
Belzer added that William was “very interested in the culinary arts program we have. He was very active in that program and looking at pursuing a post-high school career in culinary arts, the restaurant business.”
In response to the tragedy, the school’s Future Homemakers of America-Home Economics Related Occupations program is organizing a challenge to schools in the district where each classroom can compete to see who can raise the most money for San Bruno residents who lost their homes, Belzer said.
The memorial service for the three members of the Bullis family is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, located at 1500 Easton Drive in Burlingame.
The reception will take place immediately afterward at the school’s gymnasium, located at 400 Murchison Drive in Millbrae.
Traffic and parking in the area is expected to be significantly impacted between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday due to the two events, which are anticipated to draw crowds of up to 1,200 people, according to San Mateo County officials.
Easton Drive between El Camino Real and Drake Avenue might be closed temporarily.
Balboa Avenue between Easton and Hillside drive, and Hillside Drive between El Camino Real and Drake Avenue are also expected to have significant traffic problems. Other streets in the area might also be subject to closure or one-way traffic control, according to county officials.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News