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PG&E officials announced today that the company has created a fund of up to $100 million to help victims of the horrific explosion in San Bruno last week that occurred when a 30-inch gas line ruptured.

“The fund will be available to help citizens rebuild their lives and rebuild the city that they have so proudly lived in for so long,” PG&E President Chris Johns said at a news conference this morning at a San Bruno fire station.

“It is very important that this community know that there are funds, enough funds, to rebuild their lives,” Johns said.

He said PG&E has already presented San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane with a check for $3 million to help cover the costs of responding to the disaster and to “rebuild the parks, rebuild the streets, rebuild the sidewalks.”

Additionally, PG&E will be issuing checks of up to $50,000 to individual households affected by the explosion and fire, which killed four people, injured scores more and destroyed at least 37 homes.

Johns said the checks have “no strings attached.” Recipients won’t be asked to sign any releases, and accepting a check won’t prevent a resident from filing a future claim, he said.

The checks are simply to help residents get through the first phase of the recovery process, he said.

“It’s to help them meet those day-to-day needs,” Johns said.

The individual checks will be available by the end of this week, he said.

The fund will also help residents pay deductibles on their insurance policies, he said.

“I realize money can’t return lives, can’t heal scars, can’t replace memories,” Johns said. “Some of the things that have been lost you cannot put a value to.”

It is not yet clear what caused the steel gas transmission line to rupture. The night of the explosion, PG&E released a statement that read, “If it is ultimately determined that we were responsible for the cause of the incident, we will take accountability.”

Melissa McRobbie, Bay City News

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