Massive Gas Pipeline Explosion in California Kills at Least Six, Destroys Dozens of HomesSep 10, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
At least six people are dead following a massive gas line explosion in San Bruno, California. The explosion has destroyed at least 53 homes in the San Francisco suburb, and sadly, the death toll is expected to rise.
The explosion, which occurred around 6:00 p.m. local time, shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet in the air, and sent fire tearing across several blocks. Residents of the affected neighborhoods have told various media outlets that they first thought the loud boom they heard was the result of an earthquake or an airplane crash.
According to a CNN report, the blast sent concrete flying, and the heat from the flames melted tail lights on cars blocks away from the blaze. According to the Associated Press, the fire had spread to 10 acres and was 50 percent contained late Thursday. Between 150 and 200 firefighters remained at the scene through the night.
In addition to homes, the fire destroyed the grid of water mains that supplied the local fire hydrants, leaving firefighters without water to fight the blaze. They were forced to pump water from more than two miles away.
Local hospitals reported Thursday night that at least 28 people were being treated for injuries from the fire, some with critical burn injuries.
Not all residents in the blast area have been accounted for, though it is known that about 100 had evacuated to shelters. The persistent flames have kept crews from searching the area for additional victims. No estimate of the number of residents missing is currently available.
According to a report on CNN, a Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman said Friday that the company’s gas transmission line ruptured, leading to the blaze. It is not known what caused the rupture.
One person living near the blast site told KRON that people living in the area have smelled natural gas for the past three weeks.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it has started an investigation into yesterday’s explosion and fire. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Public Utilities Commission also is probing the cause and is at the scene gathering evidence.