Schwarzenegger tours San Bruno blast site; victim memorials begin

11:26 PM, Sep 15, 2010   |    comments
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SAN BRUNO, CA - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in San Bruno Wednesday afternoon, where he joined federal, state and local officials on a tour of the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood destroyed by an explosion and fire last week.

This was the first time the governor had visited the site since he returned from trade talks in Asia.

Standing at the end of Earl Avenue in front of charred chimneys, scorched tree trunks and the remains of some of the 37 neighborhood homes destroyed when a 30-inch gas transmission pipeline exploded into flames on Thursday, the governor praised first responders and assured the public that ongoing investigations will be thorough.

Unanswered questions as to why the explosion happened will be resolved, he said.

A bystander who wore a wristband designating him as a neighborhood resident shouted, "We trust you," and Schwarzenegger responded with his most famous movie line.

"I'll be back, and you will get the information," he said to the man.

The governor was joined on his tour by numerous officials, including Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, state Sen. Leland Yee, California Emergency Management Agency Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen, San Bruno police Chief Neil Telford, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane, Millbrae Fire Chief Dennis Haag, PG&E President Chris Johns, and representatives from the California Public Utilities Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board.


Meanwhile, a vigil and funeral mass are planned in San Francisco this week for blast victims Jacqueline Greig and her 13-old-daughter Janessa.

The vigil and mass are scheduled to take place at St. Cecilia Catholic Church on 17th Avenue, near Vicente Street, on Thursday and Friday.

Janessa had attended St. Cecilia School since kindergarten and her mother often volunteered for school activities.

"Janessa is warm giving, generous, outgoing," St. Cecilia School principal Sister Marilyn Miller said Tuesday. "You know, the kind of kid that you'd love to have in a classroom and love to have as a friend."

The eighth-grader was a piano player, a dancer of ballet folklorico, an actor in her school drama club, and president of the student body, Miller said.

"We have a student body of 600," she said. "Everybody knew her and everybody liked her."

Classes have been canceled on Friday to allow students, teachers and staff to attend the 11 a.m. funeral mass.

"People here are grieving," Miller said. "It's hard for us to believe that they're gone."

Jacqueline Greig, 44, was a member of the St. Cecilia School Mothers' Club. Her older daughter, Gabriella, also attended school there.

"Her life revolved around her girls," Miller said.

Jacqueline worked at the California Public Utilities Commission for more than 20 years. She also served on the natural gas committee of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

"Her talents extended beyond California," association executive director Charles Acquard said.

"She was well-liked by everybody and we'll miss her," he said.

Janessa volunteered regularly with her mother at the Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA in San Mateo, spokesman Scott Delucchi said.

"Her loss was felt deeply by everyone here who had the pleasure of meeting her and knowing her," Delucchi said.

Janessa and her mom had been coming by once or twice a week for about the past year, he said.

"For someone that young to be a regular volunteer is definitely not the norm," Delucchi said. "We assume she had a busy, full life like most teenagers but she still found time to help animals here in need."

A vigil for the Greigs will be held Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at the church, located at 2555 17th Ave. in San Francisco.

A memorial fund has been set up for the Grieg family at Bank of the West. Donations can be made in person at any Bank of the West branch or by mailing them to the Greig Family Memorial Fund, Bank of the West, 295 Bush St., San Francisco, Calif. 94104.


Bay City News

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