Pipeline memories: 'A memory not easily forgotten'

I was a fairly new resident of the Columbia area of Bellingham in 1999, expecting guests from my home state of California on a lovely warm day in June.

My nephew, his family and my sister had just arrived and were bringing in their luggage from the car when my daughter called.

"Mom, quick, look out your back door!!"

There, to my amazement and horror, was a huge black "mushroom" cloud rising in the sky.

My first thought was a chemical fire, and I went around screaming for everyone to come in and close all the windows and doors. Turning on the radio and TV, we waited to hear what had happened.

I shall never forget hearing the outcome of the tragedy and of the sorrow of the loss of three young boys' lives.

It took a long time for authorities to sort out how the pipeline had exploded. The loss of life, property damage to the park and the horror of it all was on our minds for years.

The lawsuits, the blame, but the utmost sympathy went towards the families of the boys who lost their lives that fateful day.

We all hope that we never experience this type of tragedy again. It's a memory not easily forgotten.