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American Red Cross Along with the San Bruno Community Band Together to Assist Those Affected by Catastrophic Fire
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By Caitlin Cobb, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
October 14, 2010

On September 9, a main gas line ruptured and exploded, igniting a fire that engulfed a San Bruno neighborhood, displacing nearly 400 families and causing several injuries and deaths. In the wake of this catastrophic emergency, the Red Cross launched into action to support survivors of this disaster. Within the hour, the Red Cross was providing assistance to the thousands of people affected.

That first night, the Red Cross opened two shelters to accommodate residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged. The Red Cross also staffed a nearby evacuation center where displaced residents could go to find loved ones and get information. In the coming weeks, the Red Cross and our community partners worked together to ensure everyone had a safe place to stay, food, and other essential items lost in the fire, such as clothing and medicines.

As many families were able to return home, the Red Cross continued to work with those whose homes had been damaged or destroyed, guiding them through the recovery process and providing emergency assistance for lost items or repairs not covered by insurance. Red Cross volunteers continue to call on and meet with these families on an ongoing basis to help them develop long-term recovery plans and support them emotionally through the challenges they experience in rebuilding their lives.

The Red Cross recognized that the individuals affected by the San Bruno fire would require assistance beyond their immediate needs. The Red Cross remained committed to assisting in any way possible until the families of San Bruno were comfortable and able to develop a personal recovery plan.

The Red Cross was a constant presence within the Crestmoor neighborhood for the month following the fire. Volunteers distributed cleaning supplies, snacks and water for returning families, workers and investigators. As importantly, Red Cross volunteers who are trained counselors and therapists were stationed in the neighborhood to offer emotional support following such a traumatic experience for the residents.

The road to recovery will be a long one, and the Red Cross is committed to supporting the community through the process. The Red Cross is a leading member of the long-term recovery team of nonprofits and city agencies who are tasked with identifying needs and providing assistance in the coming months. As the residents of the Crestmoor neighborhood begin reassembling their lives, the Red Cross will be there to provide them the support they need.

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