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Boxer says she expects federal help for San Bruno

Calif. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who plans to tour San Bruno Saturday, called for a thorough investigation of the pipeline explosion and promised that the federal government would lend assistance to residents of the area.

She noted that when the National Transportation Safety Board investigated a major gas explosion in December 2008 in Rancho Cordova near Sacramento, they found “that a wrong pipe was used in a previous repair of the gas line."

"We don’t know the cause of this, but we need to leave no stone unturned,” Boxer said, speaking to reporters during an event at a solar company in Palm Desert, Calif., on Friday.  

Acting Gov. Abel Maldonado has already declared a state of emergency in San Bruno. Boxer said she expects a disaster declaration -- which would free up federal resources to assist in the recovery effort -- to be the likely next step if the governor requests it.

“If there is a disaster declaration, absolutely [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] will come in and FEMA will help as we always do making the homeowners whole, helping them rebuild, helping them go to their insurance companies doing everything we can,” Boxer said.

Carly Fiorina, who is running to unseat the three-term senator, released a statement with her husband Frank on Friday urging Californians to support the relief efforts.

“The pain of such tragic loss is immeasurable, and we hold the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers,” the former Hewlett Packard chief executive said in the statement. “We also thank the first responders who have worked through the night to rescue survivors, tend to the injured and battle the flames. Their dedication, bravery and selflessness are extraordinary, and their service will not soon be forgotten.”

-- Maeve Reston in Palm Desert

 
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