SanBrunoaftermath.jpgFive families filed separate lawsuits against PG&E today in connection with the deadly September explosion and fire in San Bruno.

Susan Bullis, who lost three family members in the disaster, was among the plaintiffs who filed suit today in San Mateo County Superior Court accusing the company of wrongful conduct resulting in death, injury and property loss.

Bullis’ husband Gregory, 50; son William, 17; and mother-in-law Lavonne were among the eight people killed in the Sept. 9 blast, which injured dozens of others and destroyed 35 homes in the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood.

The law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy filed the suits on behalf of the victims.

Frank Pitre, lead lawyer at the firm, said each of the five families contacted the firm in the days and weeks after the disaster because they “wanted to know what their rights were.”
Pitre said the families are “a very good sampling of the spectrum of injuries and damages that this community has suffered.”

The other plaintiffs are the Chiramberros, who had three family members suffer severe burns, the Magoolaghans, who the firm says suffered serious emotional harm and physical injuries while running from the flames, the Pellegrini family, who lost all of their possessions in the fire, and the Vides family, who also suffered serious injuries, Pitre said.

Pitre said that despite PG&E announcing a $100 million fund and other programs to help the victims, “there are no specifics behind any of the programs.”

He said another thing that has angered the families is that PG&E is encouraging people to rebuild before figuring out what caused the blast. The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead investigator into the explosion, and the cause has not yet been determined.

“It’s 40 days after this calamity happened, and not a single person at PG&E that can tell you what went wrong,” he said. “How can you tell people to rebuild and you can’t even tell them how it went wrong and why it will never happen again?”

The lawsuits are asking for PG&E to pay for damages, past and future medical expenses, and past and future loss of earnings due to the blast. The suits also seek an injunction ordering the utility to move, repair or replace the 30-inch pipeline that ran beneath the neighborhood.

Two other lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks against PG&E in connection with the blast.

PG&E spokeswoman Katie Romans said the company has not received the lawsuit but “will carefully review it once we receive it.”

Romans said PG&E “remains committed to our customers in San Bruno and will be there to rebuild the city and the neighborhood.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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