Wednesday, September 22, 2010

San Bruno Fire

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Today, I write about the sad events of September 9 where a gas main exploded in a quiet neighborhood in my town, San Bruno, California, creating a disastrous fire that at one point literally rose over 1,000 feet into the air. I’ve taken a while in writing this as my wife and I were actually away on vacation when this tragedy occurred, and although our home and families are alright, many of our neighbors up the hill have suffered the worst. In this typical suburb south of San Francisco several people have died, dozens of homes were destroyed outright, and many other properties badly damaged. Needless to say, this tragedy strikes people on many levels, both personally and financially and we need your help. 

The local community has rallied with people volunteering, making donations, and offering all kinds of support. Three of those who died in the fire came from our local parish, and St. Robert’s Church not only acted as a relief area for survivors, but has also started their own fund for the victims of the fire. In addition, people have offered their time and aid at the local Red Cross chapter, helping at the temporary shelters and even giving blood.

Even if you do not live nearby and you would like to help, both the Salvation Army and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation have set up separate funds for those affected by this disaster. Several local companies have donated money, like Google who provided $50,000 to the Red Cross and is matching any employees’ donations as well. You-Tube (owned by Google) is actually headquartered in San Bruno. In addition, there are numerous other ways to help the survivors and families here. People have even started garage sales with all of the proceeds going to burn victims. It is difficult to convey the destruction of this fire as the damaged neighborhood has been cordoned off from the public for the time being. However, I have posted two images from Google Earth below to give you a better concept of what has happened. The first image is of the neighborhood before the blast and the second one after. Even if you cannot donate time and money to this worthy cause, your prayers are also most welcome. Thank you.