by Francesca Segre

Members of the Bethany Presbyterian Church in San Bruno are celebrating a new mosaic mural that commemorates the lives and homes lost in the 2010 gas pipeline explosion.

One-year-old Colton Stevens touches tea cup fragments that belonged to his great-grandmother, who died in the explosion. (Francesa Segre/KQED)
One-year-old Colton Stevens touches tea cup fragments that belonged to his great-grandmother, who died in the explosion. (Francesa Segre/KQED)

Of the eight people who died in the gas explosion and fire, three were members of the Bullis family, who attend Bethany Presbyterian Church.

The pipe exploded Sept. 9, 2010, after a weak seam burst during an increase in pressure, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The mosaic mural depicts the 38 homes lost in the fire, helping hands, and a phoenix rising from the ashes. Shards of ceramic cups and saucers found in the rubble of the Bullis family home jut out from the wall. The memorial includes a biblical passage: “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

The mosaic wall was officially dedicated on March 24, after more than a year of planning. Dozens of volunteers created the mural during the weeks leading up to the dedication.

“The making of a mosaic is taking broken things and building it into something beautiful,” says church member Kathryn Quickert.* “We know our community has been broken and we are rebuilding it into something that is beautiful and whole.”

The mosaic mural, which spans the side of the San Bruno church, is now open to the public.

Rev. Kathryn Pike dedicates the new mosaic mural at Bethany Presbyterian Church. Three of the eight people who died in the fire were members of the church. (Francesca Segre/KQED)
Rev. Kathryn Pike dedicates the new mosaic mural at Bethany Presbyterian Church. Three of the eight people who died in the fire were members of the church. (Francesca Segre/KQED)

A view down Glenview Drive in San Bruno where homes once stood and empty lots remain. (Francesa Segre/KQED)
A view down Glenview Drive in San Bruno where homes once stood and empty lots remain. (Francesa Segre/KQED)

* Correction: This article originally misidentified Kathryn Quickert as her sister Nancy Quickert.

  • Roberta

    Thanks for the wonderful article! It was an amazing process, and the results are so beautiful. Those of us who were part of the planning and creation of the mural feel truly blessed. One correction: “The making of a mosaic is taking broken things and building it into something beautiful,” was a quote from Kathy Quickert, not Nancy. Just fyi.

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