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OBIT: ELLEN SABADUQUIA (1950-2005) Witness to the 2004 Walnut Creek Pipeline Explosion

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print header logohttps://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/WALNUT-CREEK-Blast-kills-2-puts-6-in-hospital-2636376.php
Meredith May, Demian Bulwa, Carrie Sturrock and Leslie Fulbright, Chronicle Staff Writers
A fireball several stories high roared out of the ground near downtown Walnut Creek on Tuesday, killing two construction workers, injuring six and leaving two workers missing after a crew accidentally cut an underground jet fuel line.
The blast occurred about a quarter-mile away from the intersection of Newell Avenue and South Broadway, where two crews contracted by Mountain Cascade Inc. of Livermore were installing a large water main for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
One group of workers was welding in a trench, and a second group was digging another trench with a backhoe that apparently broke a pipeline that carries aviation fuel from Concord to the San Jose International Airport, said EBMUD spokesman Charles Hardy and Walnut Creek police investigating the accident.
Ellen Sabaduquia, 54, of Walnut Creek was driving on Broadway at 1:30 p.m. when the inferno shot out of the ground a few feet from her Toyota minivan.
She watched in horror as two screaming men emerged from the hole, engulfed in flames.
"I thought I was in Fallujah for a moment," Sabaduquia told The Chronicle, her voice trembling. "It almost looked like slow motion from a horror movie."
Sabaduquia said she wanted to get out and pick up the workers, but the flames were too ferocious and she was forced to throw her vehicle into reverse.
The six workers who were injured were all burned -- three critically, authorities said. Those with the worst injuries were airlifted to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo in critical condition with burns over 40 to 60 percent of their bodies, said hospital spokeswoman Paula Ferron.
Two victims were airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with burns so severe they were transported again to a burn center at UC Davis, according to a hospital spokeswoman. There was no information available on the sixth burn victim.
Initial reports by authorities had three workers dead, but later in the evening police said that they had confirmed two fatalities and retrieved the bodies of those victims. Authorities did not disclose the names of the dead or the missing.
The accident sparked a series of underground explosions, sent a huge column of black smoke into the sky, burned one home and damaged several others on Doris Avenue, and prompted the evacuations of Las Lomas High School and Muirwood Elementary.
"This is the worst day of my life," said Bill Williams of Mountain Cascade, general contractor for EBMUD's $180 million Walnut Creek-San Ramon Valley Improvement Project to increase water flow in the area.
Williams fielded phone calls Tuesday afternoon from worried wives and scanned work rosters to try to figure out who was unaccounted for.
The explosion rattled shops at nearby Broadway Plaza and caused students to jump in their seats. The force was so intense it blew out the windows of several apartments on Creekside Drive across the street and charred the cab of an 18-wheeler parked near the construction site.
Initially, firefighters were prevented from approaching the searing hot flames, so they were forced to keep the public away and wait for the gasoline to burn out.
Firefighters capped the pipeline at cutoff valves in Concord and Alamo, and the inferno receded about 90 minutes later, said Steve Maiero, battalion chief of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
They discovered two bodies in or near the hole, Maiero said.
The jet fuel line, owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners of Houston, was marked on maps that construction workers were using, according to Eugene Braithwaite, director of operations for the company's northern region.
Kinder Morgan is under investigation in a separate incident in which 85, 000 gallons of fuel spilled from one of its pipelines into the Suisun Marsh last April.
Braithwaite said as soon as it was safe, Kinder Morgan would assess how to clean up the Walnut Creek pipe break, possibly using vacuum pumps to remove any residual fuel.
A few Doris Avenue residents spent the night with friends or in hotels with help from the Red Cross. Among them were Enos and Leto Chabot, who lost the back half of their two-story home at 2053 Doris Ave. The fireball rose 90 feet from the construction pit, up a concrete wall and burned their entire backyard, melting the windows on their back wall.
The couple were having lunch at the Hick'ry Pit restaurant nearby when they heard the boom, and they returned home to find their neighbors evacuated to a street corner a few blocks away.
"The important thing is we're OK," said Leto Chabot. "We have insurance, but this will take months to get fixed."
At Las Lomas High, Sarah Jones, 16, said she was in her physics class when she heard what she thought was someone dropping something on the roof.
Students were instructed over the loudspeaker to stay inside, then told to evacuate to Civic Park. They could see the plume of black smoke from the parking lot.
"I don't think we were so much scared as confused," Jones said. "Because nobody told us what was going on."
The evacuation went smoothly, however, because nearly all the students had cell phones and could call their parents to come get them. Only about 50 of the school's 1,700 students made it to Civic Park, and the rest went to downtown coffee shops and juice bars to wait for their parents.
As darkness fell, authorities used a robot to shoot close-up photographs of the accident scene.

RELATED

ELLEN SABADUQUIA (1950-2005)

SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH INDEX | DEATH RECORDS

SSN:
331-44-3164
Last Name:
Sabaduquia
Suffix:

First Name:
Ellen
Middle Initial:
Faye
Death Month:
12
Death Day:
25
Death Year:
2005
Death Date:
2005-12-25
Birth Month:
07
Birth Day:
08
Birth Year:
1950
Birth Date:
1950-07-08
Last Residence ZIP:
94596 (walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California)
Last Benefit ZIP:

State of SSN Issue:
Georgia
sssss

About Ellen Sabaduquia

Ellen Sabaduquia was born on Saturday, July 8th, 1950 and died on Sunday, December 25th, 2005 at the age of 55. Ellen is a member of the Sabaduquia Family. ELLEN 's last known place of residence was 94596 (Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California) .
ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH INDEX
The United States Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is often one of the main starting points for online free genealogy research. The SSDI is used by the Social Security Administration for coordinating benefits. The Social Security Act was signed in 1935, and the Social Security Board started building the infrastructure for distributing benefits. Registration began in 1936 and 30 million individuals were registered and cards distributed by 1937. These cards were distributed through employers, who had employees fill out the information, and then returned the cards to the government. The SSDI provides the names of over 70 million individuals whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. The information that you will find in the SSDI includes: an individual’s Social Security Number, birth date, death date, where the last benefit was sent, and the original application state. The SSDI can be a great starting point for your ancestry search.
Source:
Source Citation: "Social Security Death Index" database online at Mocavo.com (Boulder, CO: 2013). Original Data: The United States Social Security Administration
Published on Mocavo:
October 9th, 2013 @ 12:00 AM




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