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11:53 AM: Volunteers are asking for donations of basic medical supplies, perishable foods, toiletries and clothing to assist those affected by Thursday night’s fire in San Bruno.
Donations continue to pour in to the Veterans Memorial Recreation Center, located at 251 City Park Way.
Items of major need include washed clothes, canned goods, diapers, toiletries, undergarments and shoes, said Colleen Williams, who came in from Pacifica to assist.
Basic medical supplies, such as antiseptic cream, Band-aids, aspirin and bandages, are also needed, she said.
“We have very little in terms of medical stuff right now,” Williams said.
Volunteers worked through the night at the center organizing donations and assisting people displaced by the fire, Williams said. At least a dozen people slept at the center and another six to seven more took shelter at the local senior center, she said.
Ryan Rucker, 24, of San Francisco, took a taxi to San Bruno this morning to volunteer at the center on his day off of work.
“I got up early this morning and came down here and said, ‘Where can I help?'”
At least 100 cots are set up in the second floor gymnasium of the center. Officials do not expect them to be filled.
“A lot of hotels have been very generous,” said city councilwoman Irene O’Connell. “A lot of people have friends and relatives in the area.”
11:42 AM: San Bruno residents who escaped the massive explosion Thursday evening have been unable to return to the scene of the incident to see if their homes are even standing.
Antonette Vaccari, who was in her home near the 6:15 p.m. blast at Skyline Boulevard and San Bruno Avenue, said she is unsure if the house is still standing and officials won’t give her an estimate for when she can see it.
“Everybody keeps saying, ‘It is, it is, it is’ standing but I don’t know. We always hope for the best,” Vaccari said.
Vaccari and her husband, both San Bruno residents for more than 50 years, left as soon as they felt the heat from the explosion, which was about 50 houses away from them, said their son-in-law.
“We could see the smoke and the black just billowing up in the mountains and I know the area, so I knew there was something serious,” said Brian Shea, Vaccari’s son-in-law. Shea has lived in San Bruno for about 28 years.
Vaccari and her husband are staying with Shea and his wife in a part of San Bruno that is not barricaded until they can figure out the state of the in-laws’ home.
“If it’s still standing I’m sure it’s pretty much smoke damaged,” Vaccari said.
She and her husband made it out of their neighborhood with the clothes on their backs, her purse, and some medication he takes for Parkinson’s disease.
“Right now we’ve got to go see if we can’t get my husband some clothes. Those are the only clothes he’s got,” she said. “And the rest of his medication. We were only able to get part of his medication.”
The explosion Thursday night caused flames 80 feet high and led to at least four deaths.
San Bruno Fire Chief Dennis Haag said a high-pressure gas line is likely to blame for the blast. Haag said 38 homes were destroyed and seven sustained significant damage.
Insurance companies have agents assisting San Bruno residents who have coverage.
“It’s a lot of hand holding. I think a lot of people are in a state of shock,” said State Farm Insurance agent Eva Martin-Long.
She said typically 20 to 30 percent of a community could have State Farm Insurance, and that the company is providing coverage for the explosion. Money paid out could provide for alternative housing arrangements for up to 24 months and complete restoration of the damaged property.
“We’re trying to restore a sense of normalcy to people’s lives,” Martin-Long said.
Insurance companies are gathering at 1100 Crystal Springs Rd. in San Bruno to help answer questions for policy holders, she said.
Anyone who is insured with State Farm Insurance should call (800)
11:33 AM: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital are holding a press conference this morning to update the public about the four victims of the San Bruno gas explosion and fire being treated there.
The press conference is focusing on the specific care needed to treat people suffering from third degree burns or worse, and the importance of having burn centers that are specially equipped with the proper equipment and trained doctors, nurses, and plastic surgeons to treat those victims, according to a hospital representative.
Saint Francis houses the only burn center in San Francisco and the only such facility near San Bruno, where a natural gas main explosion at 6:15 p.m. Thursday caused a raging fire that is still battled by firefighters today.
Three of the four victims taken to the hospital were in critical condition as of Thursday night.
The representative, who asked not to be named since she is not an official spokeswoman for the hospital, said nurse Angela Gates would be discussing the “multidisciplinary approach” the staff uses to treat patients at the center.
Dr. Jeff DeWeese planned to speak about how to treat patients who are injured like the ones from San Bruno being treated at the center, the representative said.
The cases and conditions of the San Bruno victims will not be discussed in depth because it would violate federal victim privacy laws, the representative said.
Abbie Yant, the hospital’s vice president of mission advocacy and community services, was also scheduled to speak at the press conference.