Another alarming nugget from today's Chron piece about the ongoing San Bruno investigation: 81-year-old Elizabeth Torres, the fourth victim of the explosion and fire just identified yesterday, may have been sitting at home with other family members waiting for PG&E to respond to a call regarding a gas smell when the explosion occurred. According to a relative, crews were on their way to check out her complaint last Thursday evening, but PG&E maintains it has found no records of leak calls in the blast area. Torres lived with her daughter and son-in-law, as well as another daughter, in a house just thirty feet from the blast. According to the Mercury News, her son-in-law Allen Braun attempted to save her by carrying her outside to the front porch after the initial explosion, but she was killed by a subsequent blast. Braun is now hospitalized with his body 40% burned, while his wife and sister-in-law are hospitalized in induced comas.
Furthermore, some enlightening conjecture via the Chron regarding the start of the leak, and these allegedly reported gas odors:
Mike Danko, an attorney in San Mateo who has sued PG&E several times over earlier gas-related issues, said pipeline fires can be started when a small leak travels along the pipeline onto smaller lines and then into a house. There, ignition can happen when a switch is turned on for something such as an air conditioner or a light. The fire then swiftly travels to the original pipeline leak.