September 9 marks the one-year anniversary of the San Bruno pipeline explosion and subsequent fire in which eight people were killed and 38 homes destroyed. Leading up to the anniversary, KQED has been interviewing survivors of the disaster. This is Part 5. Click here for Parts 1-4.
Bill Magoolaghan’s wife, Betty, was eight months pregnant with their fourth child when the explosion rocked their home on Claremont Avenue. With the help of a neighbor, she grabbed the children and ran barefoot from the fireball. The family survived, but their house was irreparably damaged by the blaze and by water from the firefighters.
Bill had to pressure his insurance company to help find his family an acceptable place to move into. They ended up in Belmont, but they hope to move back to San Bruno by Christmas, into an upgraded and expanded home built on the site of the old house.
Bill was at his office in San Francisco when Betty first called to tell him what had happened.
An edited transcript follows the audio.