In case your local or national news hasn't picked it up, there was a massive explosion of a gas main in San Bruno, which is just south of San Francisco. The explosion was so gigantic that people at first thought that it was a plane crash; people inside their houses still felt the heat. Pacific Gas and Electric, the power company here, just confirmed that the gas main was a huge transfer pipeline, a 24-inch pipe that probably carried 300-pounds of pressure, that blew. A producer for ABC News said that a 20-foot section of pipe was split in two, and the explosion also blew a water main, so putting out the main fire took longer than expected. Really, no one knows at this time (10:30pm PDT) how many homes have been disintegrated, how many people are dead, nor how many more have been injured. Definitely, an entire neighborhood is gone.
And I can't stop watching the news.
I live about 15-20 miles away, and while I don't think I know anyone who lives in that specific neighborhood, I can't pull myself away. Less than 1/2 mile away is Skyline College--I worked there for a year, and it is a sister college to the one I work at. I know that some Skyline students come down to my college for courses, and I can only imagine that some of my former colleagues are directly affected.
The organizer in me wants to do something--anything--in order to help. I want organize drives, or reach out to people...something. But sitting on my couch, I feel like I'm here with my thumb up my arse, completely helpless. So far there haven't been any notices from work on how we can help, but I know that by the time I wake up in the morning my email inbox will be filled. My Facebook connections will provide other information. Most likely there will be a blood drive--our campus nurses are in tight with the blood banks.
I guess the good side of this is how people are connecting to help others, whether they know the person or not. On the news reporters are interviewing people, both to get information as well as to show that John Smith and Jane Brown are fine, and are looking for family and friends. A couple of shopping centers are places where emergency services are having people go to register and get services--and the businesses are opening and helping in any way that they can. It's not about earning money or gaining notoriety; it's about helping your community. What a beautiful thing.
Somehow I have to go to sleep tonight. No idea how that's going to work.