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San Bruno residents who lost their homes feel grateful, frustrated, 'furious'

September 13, 2010 | 11:12 am

San Bruno residents whose homes were destroyed in last week's gas main explosion gathered Monday at a local senior center to find out when they would be able to see their properties and meet with city officials.

The residents of what has been dubbed the "devastation area" -- some with white gauze bandages covering burns -- were alternately frustrated and grateful as they hugged each other and filed into the building.

"We were able to get out with all of our lives and our dog," said Bob Pellegrini, who brought bulldog Gus with him.

Said wife Tina: "I lost possessions, not people. I can't buy a new husband."

The couple's "initial plan" is to rebuild, Bob said, but "if I do, that pipe has got to be gone."

But Bill Magoolaghan, whose home in the 1600 block of Claremont Drive has been red-tagged as uninhabitable was furious Monday at the slow progress.

"The initial blast of gratitude is waning," he said. "We're living in a hotel room with three kids and my wife is pregnant. We've been going to properties, looking at rental homes.

"I'm really furious," he continued. "I haven't heard one bit of information about my house from the city. Nothing but promises. I've talked to the engineers. Nothing."

San Bruno residents, he said, "didn't bring this on ourselves. PG&E and the insurance companies need to step up.... I think they need to buy us new homes."

-- Maria LaGanga in San Bruno, Calif.