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tv   Today in the Bay  NBC  September 10, 2010 5:00am-6:00am PST

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explosion in san bruno. we'll tell you what one man saw coming up in a live report. >> good morning. thank you for joining us. i'm scott mcgrew in for brent cannon, as we follow this developing story. this massive fire that started overnight and continues to smolder. >> i'm laura garcia-cannon. garvin thomas is anchoring our coverage from the field this morning. a lot going on. >> dozens of homes still smoldering after the fireball in san bruin no we have crihristie smith as well, bob redell there. christie at a shelter, bob redell at a command center and he has word from neighbors who said they smelled gas as far back as a week ago. first we go to garvin joining us live from the neighborhood with the latest. >> reporter: good morning. we are on san bruno avenue, the best way to describe it is around the corner from the fire.
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you can see the roadblock up behind us. a couple people talking to the officers right now, perhaps showing i.d. saying they live up the street. people are interested to find out what happened to their homes. let's get you up to date on the latest on this fire. the area we're talking about, claremont and glenn view drives in san bruno, that's where the explosion happened just after 6:00 last night. at least six people are confi confirmed dead, dozens others are injured. crews have not been able to do a search of the area because of the devastation. 53 homes are destroyed. another 120 are damaged. officials so far say more than 100 residents are evacuated from the area, while crews work to bring the fires that are still remaining under control. it has blackened, this fire, much like a wildfire, ten acres, and is right now 60% contained.
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power is cut off to the area. the cause of the explosion is under investigation. we do know pg&e says one of their high pressure gas mains is what ruptured what is interesting is people in the neighborhood said they had signs in the days and maybe weeks leading up to this that there may have been some danger in this situation, bob redell has more on that part of the story. >> reporter: that's an allegation that pg&e will not comment on. they want the investigation to play itself out. we heard from one neighbor who said it was a few weeks ago that they smelled gas, and then about a week and a half ago that pg&e came to investigate. >> the last week and a half, pg&e was up in the neighborhood, telling me and others to shut the garage doors, stay inside, they're investigating the smell. took off, didn't let anybody know what happened after that.
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the aftermath has to be this. what else could it be? >> have been some unconfirmed reports from neighbors that they smelled gas in this area for a week now. have you been able to research that and find out if that was true? or find out if that was true or if anyone called that in to pg & e? >> that will be part of the investigation. we don't know those answers yet but those will be part of the things that get investigated quickly. >> that was the president of pg&e commenting on those allegations, that at least one neighbor smelled gas in the weeks leading up to last night's tremendous explosion. i'm at the command post. i believe you're looking at live pictures of the actual fire scene, which is about a mile to a half mile north of where i'm at now. it's a bunch of hot spots right now, which is a dramatic improvement over what we saw last night when you saw many homes on fire. i wanted to add some information to what garvin was bringing up. six dead is the death toll, san bruno's fire chief telling that to the "l.a. times." the hope is that they will begin searching for bodies this morning, getting back into that neighborhood where they can do a
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foot search, the problem is we don't have sun up yet and they want to make sure it's safe. the expectation, unfortunately, is that the death toll will rise, that coming from a fire captain telling that to the "l.a. times." the command center is over my shoulder. lieutenant governor abe maldonado has been out here being briefed. is he acting governor because governor arnold schwarzenegger is overseas now on a trip to asia. lieutenant governor abe maldonado being briefed, expected to brief us later this morning. reporting live in san bruno, bob redell, "today in the bay". >> thank you very much. you are watching pictures, not only live pictures from the helicopter but some of the pictures from that fire yesterday. you saw that huge plume of fire going up from the ground. i want to talk more about this gas main that broke and how much pressure and gas we're talking about. we have done a make shift here.
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it was a 24 inch or two-foot gas main. we put this microphone cable into a two-foot diameter. this was not just a gas main, but a high pressure gas main that was coming through here. you can see why the flames were shooting up in excess of at least 200 feet in this case, some eyewitnesss had it higher than that. scott? laura? >> garvin, thank you. if you are just joining us, this enormous explosion happened just after 6:00 last night. now smoldering, but crews have not been able to get in it's effecting a lot of people. >> it certainly is. all the schools in the san bruno park school district are closed toad until further notice. for more information go to the district's website, fbpfd.k12.ca.us. we wills have have more information on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. the american red cross is helping victims with shelters
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today. christie smith has more on what is being done to help so many victims. >> good morning to you. we are getting a clearer picture of their stories as people come down here this morning to this red cross center that has been set up in the bayhill shopping center. some people coming here looking for help, and those people are getting help. and they're being taken to one of two shelters, other people coming here to share stories of what they saw. the two centers, we should mention, are the senior center and also the vet center here. they are asking anyone who has evacuated, left their homes, to come, check n give their name, address, information at the center here or one of the shelters. they want to make sure everyone is accounted for so loved ones know exactly where their family members are. we just smoke with one man this morning, who was at home when the explosion rocked his neighborhood. here's what he told us. >> it was huge. it was down in the valley, but i couldn't tell you how big it
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was. it was -- it was enormous. and, to me, from my vantage point, i thought that a large aircraft went straight into the ground. >> the good news for him is that his home is okay, everyone inside his home is okay. his neighbors are also okay this morning. but he says between driving from there down to here, where we are at the shopping center, he said it looked like an absolute disaster. and i spoke with the red cross this morning to find out exactly how many people they had helped, and they said they don't have an exact count this morning. people are coming in for various reasons. we spoke with one man earlier and he jumped in his car late last night and drove up here from los angeles trying to find his grandmother. and he came here as well looking for help. the good news is that it turns out she's okay as well. reporting live in san bruno, christie smith, "today in the
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bay." >> thank you very much. we are joined live by blair jones, spokesman with pg&e. you can hear me, mr. jones? >> i can. thank you for having us on this morning. >> thank you. one of the things we can talk about is what went wrong, but let's back it up to what's happening now. is the pipeline safe right now? >> well what we have done is -- is -- first our crews are in the area, working to make the area safe. assessing damage, working to restore service where possible. as you know, it was a gas transmission line that ruptured. the cause as to why it ruptured is not determined. gas flow has been stopped to the effected area, and gas flow to the area distribution pipes has
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also been stopped and isolated. >> we know you have alot of crews on the scene there. at last report we had about 5,000 people without power. what are the current numbers? >> that is correct. it was over 5,000 customers were impacted in the area. and that was -- service was initially dropped. that was for the safety of first responders, so they can go in there safely and get done what they needed to do, knowing that there would not be electrical hazards in their way. currently 700 customers are without electricity. on the gas side, 300 customers are without gas service. >> mr. jones, those are right in the explosion zone where they are without power? >> this is the area or the incident area. that's correct. >> do you have any idea how hard or how long this could be to try to remedy the situation? >> well, i can tell that you we
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will be out there in -- until the scene is safe, and the emergency responders are able to declare it safe to reenter. you know, i want to tell everybody that, of course, from pg&e, our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this terrible situation. our priority now is to help make sure that the area is safe, and our crews are working hand in hand with emergency officials to do just that. >> mr. jones, thank you for joining us. i'm sure we'll be checking back with you later this morning as well. >> happy to speak with you. thank you. >> especially because neighbors are making claims that they smelled gas in that area and complained to pg&e weeks ago. so the investigation will certainly continue. >> mike inouye joins us. stay out of the area, but kind of a ripple effect as well. this may have effects because we have a ripple effect that effects all over the place. skyline boulevard has reopened.
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as have the off-ramps from 280. that's the local commute there. the issue is the surface streets. you saw glenn moore, the vicinity, but highway 34 is hope. pg&e crews are out there. fire crews are out there. a lot of smoke visible as well. smoldering fires still. we will see slowing in the area, maybe even slowing on 101 passing by bruno, they may be curious and not really how far away it is. 280, you may see additional slowing there. luckily it's friday light. the bay area bridge showing increased slowing. we will follow that carefully and back to you guys with that traffic for 280. >> we continue our coverage of this explosion. time is 6:11. >> we have a look at what's ahead this morning for people and their home insurance
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policies. if it happened to you, would you be offered? more reaction from eyewitnesss, imagine having just minutes to leave your home.
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as governor, he cut waste got rid of the mansion and the limo budgets were balanced. $4 billion in tax cuts. world class schools and universities. clean energy promoted. 1.9 million new jobs created. california was working. i'm jerry brown. california needs major changes. we have to live within our means; we have to return power and decision making to the local level-closer to the people and no new taxes without voter approval. jerry brown the knowledge and know-how to get california working again.
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good morning. it is 6:15. ing live at.jose s jose. a nice, clear start to the day. warm temperatures to the south of san jose and east of castro valley. 8:00 forecast, patchy clouds, 56 for san francisco. 58 in fremont. 54 in fairfield. warming through the noontime hours, especially the inland areas. by 4:00, you can expect temperatures around the 70 degree mark. warmer in the far. east bay. we will have your -- we are
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watching the weather conditions for those firefighters in san bruno. i'll show you those conditions coming up in a bit. we continue to follow the developing news of this explosion that happened. we have a live look over the neighborhood in san bruno, that completely went up into flames after that huge explosion yesterday. it will be interesting to see what is left when daylight really occurs. >> the crews are able to get in there as well. garvin thomas is on the scene. what are firefighters telling you this morning? >> i'm sorry, scott what was that. >> what are firefighters saying? what's the latest? >> the latest is they're waiting for little more light and for the hot spots to cool off more so they can get in and get closer to the heart of this disaster. they' they're, in many ways, playing a waiting game and they're not the only one. i'm joined by phil percicio.
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i can't put ymyself in your shoes. >> they are not even my shoes. they're my dad's shoes. i left with bare feet. >> what happened yesterday? >> we were just sitting down for dinner, we felt the ground shake, i tried to get them under a doorjamb, i felt heat through the walls of the house, i said garage, and we kind of went as one lump to the garage. i looked out to the side and saw through our back sliding glass window which is on the canyon side. i saw degree falling on our deck. and i saw flames. i didn't know where they were coming from. no houses were behind me, because we're the canyon. my wife opened up the garage door, we opened it up, people are running down the street and there's like a fireball. i just said get in the car! and just threw the kids in the car seats, barely shut their
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doors, pulled out and kind of navigated to the people leaving, closed the garage door. >> you told me you got to this point right here yesterday. >> yeah. >> you left your wife and kids in the car and you ran up a few feet, said you wanted to look at your house. your house from this point was across the can yon what did you see yet? >> it was just enveloped in smoke. the wind always blows this way in pacifica, from the ocean. the flames were huge, you never actually see flames, just smoke. the flames were so huge from where the epicenter was, all the smoke got blown down towards the house. it was just a cloud of smoke. >> what now i'm getting to is this waiting game you have right now. you say if you could get past this police checkpoint here and go a quarter mile down, you could see your house and see if it's still standing, but you can't do that right now. >> i just want to walk 100 yards
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there and see if it is. i kind of know it's not there, but i feel that it is but i need to see it so i can be prepared enough to prepare my kids. it's okay, we'll get new lego toys. >> i appreciate it. thank you very much. another one of our reporters up here, monte francis is on the edge of the cordoned off area as well with more information on what pg&e crews are doing this morning and how folks are dealing with this. >> reporter: safety assessment teams are meeting now to determine when they can do the house by house searches. once it is daylight, the hope is that's when searches can happen. the frustrating thing is there's no word on how many people are unaccounted for. we know six people have been confirmed dead, and pg&e is in the process of investigating what caused yesterday's huge explosion and fire. the company already said a gas transmission line ruptured. as crews prepare to do these
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searches a perimeter has been set up around the fire zone. no one is allowed in. 200 law enforcement officials are out here making sure no one goes beyond the roadblocks, besides fire overwhelms and pg&e crews. the fire is still smoldering, but safe to say the fire crews have an upper hand on the fire. we should know more about potential victims of the fire in the coming hours. monte francis, "today in the bay." >> the latest count, the death toll in this disaster stands at six. as crews get into the area, they do, unfortunately, expect that number to rise as they are able to go and do a house-to-house search of the area. injuries are counted in the dozens, not an exact number now. some of them very seriously injured with burns. the red cross is reaching out to everyone. they say in particular they need o negative blood, but if anybody is in a position to donate blood over the next few days, red
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cross donation centers will be open late. some will be open on sunday to accommodate those who want to help. scott? laura? >> thank you. we continue to run information on the ticker below us. these injuries that garvin is speaking of, these are going to be horrific, we suspect. horrific injuries. anything anyone can do to help. >> from broken burns to injuries. so much help is needed. and insurance, how do you deal with that. >> tully lemnan is joining us from the insurance network information of california. people left with the clothes on their back. where do you start? this is one of those situations where the catastrophe happened so quickly, you're right, you had to leave with the clothes on your back. as a result of that you may not
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have some of your policy information. if you can remember your policy or your -- who your insurer is, whether it's state farm, farmers, all state, et cetera, contact them and tell them what situation is, what you have gone through and they'll help you get the process started. >> does it make a difference how quickly you contact your insurance? does it put y >> one thing insurers do in a situation like this they prioritize from the most serious issue to the least serious. if you are a total loss, you'll be higher in the queue as it were. if you only had smoke damage, will you be later in the queue. >> we assume if you can even give the name to your insurance agent who will show up there, you can get vouchers for a hotel room or some emergency funds as you try to deal with this.
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>> that's right. it is something called additional living expenses or a.l.e. is the term in the insurance industry. from that what you will do is you can get a check for that and you will be able to pay for hotel expenses, clothing, food, that sort of thing for anything you may need in the immediate -- coming days and weeks. >> tully lehman, thanks for joining us. good advice for people and for all of us to be prepared. >> mike inouye continues our coverage. smoke still visible from the highway, and that could cause some distractions this morning. >> definitely, scott. as folks are waking up, the sun is coming up. we have been warning it may be visible. and friends traveling through the area have told me they can see it and smell it through daley city and san bruno this is a good distance from san bruno mountain, but this is just off of 280, just to the west. now a live shot from our
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operations center this is from san francisco, san bruno mountain, there it looks like the outline of a lot of emergency vehicles, there is all the smoke drifting over towards 280 down at the bottom of the screen that is creeping over, drifting across the freeway. you will smell the smoke, see the smoke. you can't see these lights from 280 and not from 101, but folks will slow down because of that smoke. curiosity always an issue for the morning commute. spectator slowing, even though there's not much to see. flashing lights off of 280 at the exits. don't head to that area. you cannot get there, folks. they will not allow you lere you f unless you areecyirdte emergency crews. more after this break.
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you are looking at a live picture of san bruno and the clean-up effort, the rescue effort, search and rescue as we wait for dawn to get some idea as to how bad this explosion is.
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the latest we know are six people are dead and there are several injured. >> the mayor of san bruno says this is a terrible tragedy that has fallen on the city. >> our main concern, as public officials here, making sure our citizens are safe. we're trying to do that now. this will be a long haul for the city and all of our residents for weeks to come. >> the mayor is asking for people to pray for those effected by the massive fire. it will be a tough tragedy to overcome. >> kris sanchez joins us now. there are weather factors to this, and then everyone else needs to know what the weather is. >> this is a difficult story. you will know it even if you don't live in the san bruno area, because winds will pick up, more people will be effected and they will be able to smell it. this morning winds will pick up around 7:00. 5 to 15 miles per hour. but by 11:00, we are hoping that
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fire will be fully contained and that firefighters will have it out. the winds will pick up maybe as much as 25 miles per hour. we are watching the air quality conditions as well for you, because we know that smoke can change things. it's all green now, but that could change. look at the radar. we are seeing mostly clear skies. high pressure will dominate the headlines. cool temperatures along the coastline and warm temperatures for the inland areas. we are keeping our eyes on that wind forecast for san bruno. we'll have more on that for you in a bit. >> thanks, kris. we are continuing our coverage of the bay area neighborhood that is just absolutely in ruins. >> it's very, very disturbing that innocent people, innocent lives, the burn victims, people losing the houses, it's ridiculous. >> some neighbors say they know exactly who to blame for t
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explosion that caused all this and that it could have been prevented. [ male announcer ] jerry brown's good old days.
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>> we have declared a local disaster in the city of san bruno which has been confirmed through the state. >> a neighborhood reduced to chimneys and ash as people search for an answer why. live coverage of the san bruno explosion. >> i'm monte francis live on the northern side of the fires. i'll tell you what the next step is in the search and rescue operation. >> i'm bob redell live here at the command center. we'll tell you how pg&e is responding to allegations that there was a smell of gas in the neighborhood in the weeks leading up to last night's explosion. that coming up in a live report. good morning, everyone. thank you for joining us. i'm scott mcgrew in for brent cannon. >> i'm laura garcia-cannon.
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garvin thomas is coming the accident from the field this morning, it's been a nightmare, hundreds of people are still evacuated from their homes, waiting for word from loved ones. this is a live look at the san bruno neighborhood where dozens of homes simply were burnt to the ground in an explosion that happened about 12 hours ago. garvin is live right now and a tough situation for fire fighters with people wanting to know when they can get back home. >> some fire crews are heading in closer to the fire scene now. they are hoping now that the sun is coming up, and maybe the hot spots have died down a bit to begin their search. for those of you just getting up to speed on this whole situation, let's take you from the beginning. 6:00 yesterday afternoon, a 24-inch or a two-foot high pressure pg&e gas main erupts. it explodes shooting flames at least 200 feet into the air.
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fire shooting into the air destroying part of that neighborhood. in all, six people are confirmed dead. that death toll expected to possibly rise as firefighters and rescue crews get in closer to the heart of this disaster and do a house-to-house search. there are dozens injured. there are more than 50 homes which had been destroyed by this fire, there are more than 100 homes which have been seriously damaged by this fire. overnight, crews were not able to get too close to the source of this fire because of the heat, but here where we stand, the sun is coming up, crews are expecting to get closer, possibly discover more fatalities in this case. of course the investigation starts as well. and that involves trying to figure out what happened with that pg&e high pressure main. bob redell joins me now. there were some suspicions among neighbors that this was a
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problem even before yesterday. >> reporter: correct. i'm located on the south side of the fire, at the command center. pg&e won't comment on the allegations, they want to see how the investigation plays out. one neighbor said they had the smell of gas in this neighborhood a few weeks prior. they said it was a distinct smell. then a week and a half ago, they said pg&e came to the neighborhood, told residents to stay inside, close their garage doors that they were investigating the smell of gas. then they took off and that was the last they heard of them. >> it's very, very disturbing that innocent people, innocent lives, the burn victims, people losing their houses, it's ridiculous. pg&e should have had a better grasp on the public cries for help of a gas smell. gas is nothing to mess around with. this is ridiculous. >> we know we have a gas line in the area and it has a rupture in it, but we don't know what the cause is. it's a little too early to
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speculate. we will fully support the investigation. until we get the investigation complete, we don't want to speculate what it was. again, as i said, if, for whatever reason, some of our facilities are involved in that, we will make it right. >> reporter: that was a comment from chris johns, the president of pg&e. back out here live, you are probably hearing a chopper up above the fire scene where you can see it's smoldering, if you will. we are not seeing the flames that we saw last night. i'm at the xwhacommand center, command center is right over there, over my other shoulder is the smoke from the fire what we are waiting for now is lieutenant governor abe maldonado, actually acting governor because governor schwarzenegger is overseas, is he supposed to brief us in the next half hour. he has been briefed by firefighters, at least for the past couple of hours. he has already declared this area a state of emergency. reporting live here in san
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bruno, bob redell, "today in the bay." garvin? >> thank you very much. for you folks watching at home, watching all this disaster, devastation, wondering if there's anything you can do, the red cross is putting out word that desperately needed is blood donations. they will keep donation centers open, later hours and open sunday. in particular, o negative blood is what they need, but if you're willing to help they're willing to take the donation. >> if there are people who do want to donate other things, they can go to their local red cross, do not come into the area and gum things up there. just go to your local red cross. >> garvin thomas reporting live from the scene there. dozens of people forced from their homes in san bruno because of this geyser of fire yesterday. "today in the bay's" christie smith is talking about help to the victims. she is at one of the shelters. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. we are at the red cross center that has been set up here at the
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bayhill shopping center. this is sort of a clearinghouse, people coming here looking for help, shelters, information. just a couple of minutes ago i had a man walk up to me asking where do i find information on my home, if my home is still standing. i guess the man put on the hot seat with that, good morning, you are woody baker cohen what are you telling people who want answers about their home? >> we don't really have information yet. i don't think there really is much yet. it's pretty much sit tight, which i know is very difficult under these circumstances. but, you know, the fire service is getting in there in large numbers now that there is some light, doing some assessment and searches. they'll find out. we are also seeing a number of people come through who are looking for family or friends that they either know or think plig might have been in the effected area, and in a fast evacuation like this, that is quite normal. we have a website set up for people to find each other, it's
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www.redcross.org/safeandwell. you can go there and register yourself. if somebody doesn't have internet access, which, under the circumstances, i'm sure there are a number of people, they can dial 800-red-cross, and somebody will do that for them over the phone. >> how about the shelters? do you have any numbers on how many people were in there overnight? >> yeah. it's quite a large number of people displaced, but many of the people had resources of some sort, so they either had insurance and credit cards, family and friends in most cases. so the shelter population was quite low. 38 people total overnight in the two shelter we have open. we'll be opening service centers as well there. >> thank you very much for speaking with us this morning. that's the latest from here, reporting live in san bruno i'm christie smith. back to you guys in the studio. >> before you go and before woody goes, i want to ask
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because we are seeing on social networking sites that the bay area is a giving issue, i want to take clothes, shoes, children's clothing to these people, but what is the right answer to that? does the red cross want or need that right now? do they need monetary donations? we know blood is in short supply, but what about the clothes on peoples backs? >> that's a good question. laura was asking if people see this and they want to help, they want to give monetary donations, they want to donate food, donate clothing, they want to donate something what are you telling people who want to help? >> yeah, that's great question. we had a lot of people call or try to come here with donations. at this point, bringing in things like blankets, clothes, it's a wonderful sentiment, but it really is not what is needed right now. the people that have lost things have really lost everything. their houses have burned down, they don't have a place to put things. we'll help them get started again. there's other resources we're bringing in. we have very good partnerships
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with other social service agencies. bringing clothes, blankets, things like that, food is not at all helpful right now and became a bit of a problem overnight with the masses of stuff coming in. in terms of money, go to the red cross website, redcross.org and donate. we will see what winds up happening in terms of the funding needed for this. we are not anticipating we will need a lot of money, though, for this particular occurrence. >> thank you very much. we are going to go to break. in the meantime, you can get a lot of information off this ticker that is running below, biz school closings, about information on the red cross, blood drives as well. dunkin' donuts coffee -- want some? [ whoosh! ] i'd love some. one taste, and you'll understand. delicious dunkin' donuts coffee. pick some up where you buy groceries. america runs on dunkin'.
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welcome back to thank you morning. you're looking live at san bruno where fires are still smoldering from last night's massive gas explosion. as of this moment, six people are confirmed dead. more than 20 people are injured. the explosion and fires destroyed 53 homes, damaging another more liveor r more liveep repts are on the way. re
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as governor, he cut waste got rid of the mansion and the limo budgets were balanced. $4 billion in tax cuts. world class schools and universities. clean energy promoted. 1.9 million new jobs created. california was working. i'm jerry brown. california needs major changes. we have to live within our means; we have to return power and decision making to the local level-closer to the people and no new taxes without voter approval. jerry brown the knowledge and know-how to get california working again. good morning to you, everyone. dozens of homes still smoldering
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in san bruno after a volcano-like explosion ripped through a neighborhood last night. "today in the bay's" christie smith live at a shelter where people are still waiting for word if their homes are still standing. >> and bob redell is reporting that some neighbor's complained about smelling gas as long as a week ago. first we want to get to jeff smith from pg&e this morning. those are serious claims from neighbors there, jeff. >> certainly that was part of the ongoing investigation. we have heard those reports in the media as well, that some customers have indicated that in conversations with the media. that certainly will be part of our -- of the overall investigation that takes place. >> okay. where are we right now. >> we will be cooperating with that investigation. >> we know you are trying to make headway this morning. where are we now? we have crews at the scene. give us the latest. >> a couple of things. pg&e crews will be walking the neighborhood with the fire
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department this morning to make sure it is safe to restore power where possible. and pg&e crews are also proactively surveying the gas transmission and gas distribution system to determine the damage and be sure that restoration will happen. >> go right ahead, jeff. >> the other developments this morning is the ntsb, the national transportation safety board, the federal saagency responsible for investigating the pipeline incident, will be on site today. the ntsb will lead a comprehensive investigation. >> jeff what i was going to ask, there are still folks without power, but most of those are near the explosion zone itself. >> yeah. approximately 700 customers currently without power. they are in the incident area. >> okay, jeff smith with the
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latest there from pg&e as the investigation -- >> if i could add one thing. >> sure. >> before you let me go. i want to make sure that -- i would be remiss if i didn't mention that the 20,000 men and women of pg&e, our thoughts are with those directly impacted by this tragedy. the images are heartbreaking. our thoughts and prayers are with them. >> thank you very much, jeff. you look live this morning, literally skeletal remains of homes, cars, people don't know what they can come home to. >> we heard from one man earlier who said i am 100 yards away from knowing whether my house stands or ceases to exist, but, of course, he's behind that safety barrier which is important. he's 100 yards from knowing which one it is. >> as are a lot of people this morning. want to check in with garvin thomas. he is live from one of the neighborhoods there close to there with the latest for us. >> reporter: it's amazing watching those live chopper
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pictures this morning. for all of us, of course, the fire was raging last night, but now that the sun is coming up, we are getting a first look at how devastated that neighborhood is. it reminds you of the scene of volcanic eruption, of bomb blasts, of wildfires that ripped through and destroyed entire neighborhoods. a good part of this neighborhood is destroyed, but it's not just video from today, but from last night. the rupture left a giant crater in the ground and sent flames sent blocks, you can see the flames spreading all over the neighborhood. a fire engine, you can see the lights flashing in the middle of that. this is a look at the fire burning overnight, helicopters flying overhead. flames were hot enough to crack the windshield of fire engines. some information for those effected. there are two emergency shelters set up in san bruno. one is at veterans memorial recreation center at 251 city
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park bay, another is at bayhill shopping center, at the intersection of san bruno avenue and cherry avenue. those impacted by the blast, help is available, help from the red cross. call the red cross at 1-888-4-help b 1-888-4-help-bay. we are on san bruno avenue at the barrier of -- one of the checkpoints here, one of the spots leading in. folks are just starting to show up and wonder what happened to their homes. another location on the northern edge is where monte francis joins us live and people are just trying to learn what happened to their homes. >> reporter: i want to show you this road block here behind me. a perimeter has been set up all around this fire zone. 200 law enforcement officers are out here making sure no one goes into the fire zone who is not supposed to. hundreds of pg&e customers are
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without power. safety assessment teams are trying to determine how safe it is for fire crews to do house by house searches inside the perimeter, now that it is daylight. the hope is that those searches can take place. what's been an ongoing source of frustration is that there has been no indication of how many people could be unaccounted for. we are on the northern side of the fire zone. bob redell is on the southern side of the fire zone. he has the latest for us now. bob? >> good morning. probably about a half mile, mile away from the fire scene itself at the command center. you can see what looks like fresh bodies in here this morning from the fire department, waiting for the orders to be deployed. it is our understanding within the next hour, hour and a half that they are going to attempt a search and recovery effort down at the fire scene itself. we have the sun which the firefighters have been waiting
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for. interesting allegation from one neighbor we spoke with who lives in the neighborhood that blew up last night saying within the past few weeks there was the distinct smell of gas. >> just the last week and a half, pg&e was up in the neighborhood telling me and other people to shut their garage doors, stay inside, they're investigating a smell. then took off, didn't let anybody know what happened after that. the aftermath has to be this. what else could it be? >> now there have been some unconfirmed reports from neighbors that they smelled gas in this area for a week now. have you been able to research that and find out if that was true? or find out if that was true or if anyone called that in to pg & e? >> that will be part of the investigation. we don't know those answers yet but those will be part of the things that get investigated quickly. >> that is the president of pg&e. we are also expecting to hear from lieutenant governor abe maldonado, he is acting governor now because governor
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schwarzenegger is on travel or out of the country. we should be hearing from the lieutenant governor who has being briefed by the fire officials within the next ten minutes or so. laura? >> thank you very much, bob, for the latest. reality will set in today as people wake up, the sunlight is up. following last night's devastating explosion and inferno. this is a look at the way the neighborhood looked before the blast. as we have seen from pictures this morning, there's a crater in some areas where homes have gone destroyed. you see the smoke still billowing from the smoldering remains. people effected by the fire are getting help from the american red cross. tough situation to deal with. christie smith live in san bruno. so many people have contacted us saying what can we do to help? where can we get involved? >> yeah. you know, a lot of people looking for answers this morning. basically the red cross telling
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us that the best thing do at this point is more of a monetary donation. i don't think they're set up to take in food, clothing, those things. we are here at red cross center that they have set up at the bayhill shopping center. along those lines, there's one man here from the bakery, the red truck there, and he actually lives in the area. he saw the explosion and the truck has bread in it. he brought it here thinking that anyone who might need food, he was hoping to give that to them and help out. we also have the red cross truck here. we have information this morning that they helped out about 38 people at the two shelters they had set up last night. they say that a lot of people ended up going with family and friends. we're also, if we can pan over here, waiting for a press conference to start to get new information. we're believing this may be the lieutenant governor coming here. that could happen any minute. a lot of people coming by wanting answers. we spoke with one woman a couple minutes ago, she said she had a
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couple relatives up there and hasn't heard from them. she is trying to get information on them. also people coming here wanting to know, as sad as it sounds, wanting to know if their home is still standing. they are wanting answers and the red cross can't answer that. oes is here, firefightering trying to learn what is going on. state farm, the insurance company, will be out in this lot helping out the people they cover trying to get them back on their feet. certainly a lot of activity this morning. a lot of people wanting to help. a lot going on. reporting live in san bruno, christie smith, back to you in the studio. >> thank you. i was mentioning a short minute ago about the guy who didn't know if his house -- we got word his house is okay. >> literally he left with no shoes on. >> yes, and couldn't get to see if his house is all right. believe it or not, it is. that's one little story. >> a little ray of hope for so many people that will have a very tough day ahead if not weeks or months.
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all right. we also know there are a lot of people -- you can see the smoke -- last night throughout the bay area. from the east bay, down to the south bay. but along that stretch of 280, we are getting slowing traffic because of it. we want to check in with mike. as you are talking about putting out those fires, the smoldering is going on. skyline boulevard is open, but a lot of service street closures. don't go to the area. good news about that one home, but bad news as far as slowing goes. slowing out of daley city heading down into san bruno. we are showing you the scene from san bruno mountain. there is the scene of the fire, there is the smoke drifting over to 280. the southbound side, right there, heading past the scene is the closest to the smoke. that's where you are seeing the slowdowns. other side of the bay, 880 slowing down in the northbound direction past the coliseum. two traffic breaks, one in san
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leandr leandro, the rest of the commute not bad. kris, you are following the weather as it pertains to the fire and the bay area forecast. >> we know firefighters were looking forward to daylight so they would know what they are working with. but as daylight comes, so does the wind. starting off at 5 to 15 miles per hour, later in the morning, 15 to 20. by 11:00 today, they could be as high as 25 miles per hour. the temperatures for those firefighters, those will be okay. we are watching the air quality forecast. it is all green now. we know the fire is around here. that means that could change. look at the radar. not much to talk about. that system that brought the patchy fog and drizzle, it has moved off to the sierra, be aware of that. 8:00 this morning, patchy fog around 50 degrees. by the noontime hour, around 60. heating up, mostly south of san jose, east of castro valley. hottest temperature around
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fairfield. here's a look at the seven-day forecast in case you are planning. still patchy fog in the morning. the night, for the coastal areas. 70s and 80s for the rest of the inland areas. back to you. >> thank you. an emergency hotline for you on your screen for the city of san bruno, 650-6 bruno, 650-616-7180. all the schools in the san bruno area are closed today. the "today" show continues our coverage. we'll be here throughout the day with more. quote and compare in about 8 minutes. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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