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San Bruno Fire

The San Bruno fire that ripped through a neighborhood in the California town has taken the place of other news stories including how the Ravens shut down the Jets, and left well over 50 houses destroyed and dozens others damaged, according to numerous reports. With a deafening sound that was heard for miles in all direction, a natural gas pipeline exploded and tore through the neighborhood on the evening of September 9, causing a fire that spread across many homes all along its path. Shifts in the wind helped the San Bruno fire to jump from house to house and works its way across the neighborhood as emergency crews rushed to try to contain it.

The source of the fire, a broken gas line engulfed in flames, burned well past nightfall until firefighters were able to put it out. By then, the domino effect had already been powerful and fast, with trees and homes in the vicinity ablaze along several blocks [1].

Emergency Crews Fight San Bruno Blaze

Electrical power to the area was completely shut off and emergency response crews on the ground and in the air fought the San Bruno fire from the ground and the air. At the same time, local residents searched high and low to locate one another and help each other as needed. Where the initial explosion occurred a large crater was left behind in the street. As time wore on rescuers were able to get closer to the scene and into homes to help locate victims and survivors, with the death toll still creeping upward by the end of the week [2]. Cadaver dogs were deployed all through the affected area to look for bodies as well as to try to find more survivors.

Blaze Startles San Bruno Residents

Many residents in the neighborhood were completely thrown off guard by the fire as it occurred. Many people mistook the explosion for a large earthquake because of the initial sound and the way the ground shook as it happened. This confusion surely resulted in greater hard being done, because residents were not mobilized as quickly as they might have been had the San Bruno fire not snuck up on so many of them.

The damage done to homes and property of San Bruno residents affected by the gas line exploding and becoming ablaze is severe. Investigators are still working their way through the homes and belongings of people, a process which will take some time with rescue efforts still active as of the end of the weekend following the San Bruno fire. The exact financial cost of the disaster may not be known for some time, but it is clear that it will have a huge impact on those who experienced it as local residents. Part of that impact will be felt in the housing damage sustained to dozens of homes affected. But another part that may take longer to fully assess is the impact of the San Bruno fire on car insurance.

Car Insurance and Accidental Fire

San Bruno auto owners who have comprehensive auto insurance do have fire protection on their vehicles. Fires are covered under San Bruno automobile insurance policies comprehensive coverage. But there are limits and deductibles to this coverage. One of the common limits is exclusion on personal property. Folks who had their cars destroyed in the San Bruno fire may or may not get reimbursed for personal property losses within their vehicles depending on the terms of their policies. This could also end up being taken up with homeowners insurance providers as well, depending on the situation.

Coverage for fire damage included in free auto insurance quotes are not automatic. First of all, the source of the fire has to be taken into account, as well as the culpability of the auto owner in the blaze itself. While that wouldn't appear to be an issue in this case, it is nonetheless worth mentioning. Consumers of auto insurance policies should always be aware of their terms of coverage including limits and exclusions to the protection afforded. Personal property protection is just another example. For those of us who do have significant limits on this protection, it is good to investigate into what is offered by our homeowners plan so that we know which policy to file under in the event of a personal property loss from a vehicle due to an event like the San Bruno fire.

The city of San Bruno was rocked with an emergency event that among other things reinforced the notion of the great importance of solid insurance protection for all citizens. Beyond that, the significance of understanding all of your policies and knowing which ones provide different types of coverage is also being illustrated by this experience. The San Bruno fire should teach auto insurance policy holders an important lesson.

[1] http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/09/BADP1FBJRS.DTL Retrieved 2010-09-11.
[2] http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_16051714?source=rss&nclick_check=1 Retrieved 2010-09-11.

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