Last Thursday I turned on the news. I never watch the news on TV, but it was a little after six o’clock and I was home alone so I said what the hell. I flipped to one of the news stations that reside in the single digit stations, and San Bruno was up in flames.

At that point, no one knew what happened. Some said a plane had crashed, some suspected an underground explosion. PG&E confidently denied any blame at that point.

Although I’m only about 10 miles from the neighborhood that was greatly affected by, and will continue to be greatly affected the fire, it seemed at that moment like it was miles and miles and miles away. Almost like it couldn’t possibly be happening.

And so that’s why I went there Friday, to physically see it. I wanted to put it in perspective, I guess to create some kind of bond with that neighborhood.

The neighborhood looks like a war zone, but not at first. Pulling into Claremont Drive right off of 280’s Sneath Lane exit, there are only a few signs of what happened. A backhoe parked along the curb, police cars of many different counties and cities patrolling the neighborhood, and a swarm of PG&E employees.

When you get deeper into the neighborhood by a couple blocks though, towards the center of it, the damage becomes more real. Now, news stations, disaster clean up crews, and fire fighters are all present. Police stand guard at roadblocks, letting only officials in and out. Only frames of cars and chimneys stand behind them.

This is what I saw Friday.

Here are a couple ways to help the people, families, and neighbors, our neighbors, in San Bruno: to volunteer with the Red Cross or to donate goods or money to their services visit or call (888) 443-5722. To donate blood call (888) 393-GIVE.

See all coverage of the San Bruno fire on this page

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