A somber gathering in San Bruno Monday Night marked the day three years ago when a PG&E natural gas pipeline burst into flames and consumed an entire neighborhood.
Despite the passage of time, emotions for many living there in the wake of the catastrophe remain raw as the neighborhood continues rebuilding
Nancy Hensel and her husband's house has been replaced, but two cats and a lifetime of memories and precious possessions are gone forever.
"Completely gone except for the chimney," said Hensel when describing her old home. "It's not the house so much as all of my memories. All of our pictures, you know, my grandmother's things, given me by my mother."
She has new cats and a new roof, but for Hensel something important is missing.
"We have a house, but it doesn't feel like home," said Hensel. "It doesn't."
The explosion and fire in 2010 killed eight people and injured 60. It destroyed 38 homes and damaged 123 residencies. 22 of the destroyed houses have been rebuilt or are in construction and all 123 damaged homes have been repaired.
The total damage to the neighborhood added up to $565 million.
"We still have a long ways to go both with the rebuilding of the homes as well as the infrastructure around them," said San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson.
But nothing is so joyous as when someone returns.
"Oh, they light up," said Hensel. "They're really happy. 'I got my home back!'"
Besides a local memorial park to the victims, San Bruno wants a nationwide legacy for its loss.
"Positive reform of the regulatory process and our California Public Utilties Commission [and] the way it does business," said Jackson. "Eliminating what we have come to understand as a too cozy relationship between the regulator and the utilities and, frankly, the need for better management, maintenance and oversight of the infrastructure system by those who own and operate it."
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.