San Bruno and PG&E mark one year since deadly pipeline explosion

The aftermath of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, Sept. 9, 2010.
The aftermath of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, Sept. 9, 2010.

Survivors of the nation's deadliest pipeline accident in a decade will gather Friday to remember the eight people who died in last year's San Bruno blast.

Residents say they'll recognize the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 9 explosion that injured dozens and torched 38 homes. A group will gather at Skyline College for a somber remembrance ceremony a few minutes before the milestone passes Friday evening.

Two days later, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, community members will come together for a reunion in a San Bruno Park.

Pacific Gas and Electric President Chris Johns says the utility takes full responsibility for the pipe it installed and maintained for fifty years.

"We're sorry that our pipe was involved in the cause of this accident. Unfortunately, I know that no matter what I say, or actions that I take, will never be able to make up for the tragic loss of life and injury to the citizens of San Bruno," he said.

"What we can do is to help them in the healing and rebuilding process and I pledge to do that."

San Bruno City Mayor Jim Ruane says the remembrance gatherings will serve as therapy for the small community still recovering from the tragedy.

"We’re actually going to take over a whole city park, ask everyone to come and have a celebration of rebuilding and rebirthing," Ruane said. "Knowing we can’t go back, we won’t forget, but we will go forward."

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board criticized state regulators and the utility for the disaster. The board called PG&E "a company that exploited weaknesses in a lax system of oversight."

Pacific Gas and Electric, which owns the pipeline, is planning a $2.2 billion safety upgrade. Consumer advocates complain that power customers will have to pay 90 percent of the cost.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.