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In brief: Service held for two blast victims

A photograph of Jacqueline Greig and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa, who were both killed in the San Bruno fire last week, is displayed at a funeral service Friday in San Francisco.  (Associated Press)
A photograph of Jacqueline Greig and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa, who were both killed in the San Bruno fire last week, is displayed at a funeral service Friday in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO – The five women grew up together and shared high school and college graduations, weddings, the births of their children and family vacations.

Four of them gathered to mourn the one who was missing – Jacqueline Greig, 44, who was killed with her 13-year-old daughter Janessa in a natural gas pipeline blast that tore through their house and destroyed almost 40 homes in their neighborhood.

“She had integrity, poise. She wanted to set a good example, and that is what she did,” said Monica Medina-Campos, one of those friends.

The friends gathered at a Thursday night vigil that was followed Friday by a funeral Mass at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church.

The caskets of the mother and daughter were covered by a single pall and topped by a cross. Jacqueline Greig’s husband, James, and their 16-year-old daughter Gabriela sat in the front row during the service in English and Spanish.

Children in uniform from Janessa Greig’s eighth-grade class at the church filled several pews.

Monsignor Michael Harriman told those in attendance that Janessa Greig, as student body president, had a role in choosing “Don’t stop believing” as the school motto for the year.

“So I say to all of you here today, as you are struggling with this horrific tragedy, don’t stop believing,” he said.

Copter crashes while filming car

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – All four people hurt Friday when a helicopter crashed on Pikes Peak have been treated and released from a local hospital.

The helicopter was carrying a German film crew shooting footage of an experimental car that was nearing the summit.

The most seriously injured was the pilot, identified as Jim Dirker, a former news helicopter pilot for a Denver TV station. He was flown off the mountain by medical helicopter.

Audi has suspended its tests of the car through the weekend, an Audi spokesman at the scene said.

Scott Smith, of Colorado Springs, was on the mountain early to go hunting. He saw the helicopter, car and other vehicles leave a staging area about 6:30 a.m. The helicopter was flying about 100 feet above the car, he said.

Smith was headed to Windy Point but said he was stopped just below Devil’s Playground by someone saying the helicopter “went down.”

The tail section of the helicopter was not attached at the crash site. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene.

The Audi crew has been in the area since Sept. 6, Stertz said, checking conditions of the Pikes Peak Highway and adjusting the GPS mechanism inside the car. This was the first day the film crew had used a helicopter.

Audi chose to test the car on Pikes Peak because of the car company’s success at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Stertz said. “We’ve had such legendary success here.”

NEW YORK – The storm that churned through New York City spawned two destructive tornadoes and a fierce macroburst with wind speeds up to 125 mph that barreled across a large swath of Brooklyn and Queens, authorities said Friday.

The storm on Thursday evening toppled trees, peeled away roofs and killed a woman in a car who had just swapped seats with her husband.

The fury of wind and rain that pummeled the area included New York City’s ninth and 10th tornadoes since 1950, the National Weather Service said Friday night.

Kyle Struckmann, a meteorologist with the agency, said it was amazing that only one person died.

“It’s practically a miracle considering the population that was affected by this,” he said.

One of the tornadoes struck Brooklyn at 5:33 p.m. Thursday, with winds up to 80 mph, and carved its way northeast from the Park Slope section, Struckmann said. The second one hit Queens at 5:42 p.m., with winds up to 100 mph.

It was that second twister that snapped trees and scattered them like bowling pins, downing power lines and crushing vehicles, including a car in Queens where Aline Levakis was killed, according to the National Weather Service. She was in the parked car with her husband, Billy Levakis. The couple, from Pennsylvania, had just switched seats in the car, said a former business partner, Peter Markos. Billy Levakis survived.