A ruptured gas line in San Bruno, California, has officially left 53 homes destroyed and at least four dead. The explosion devastated the neighborhood and more casualties are possible. Over 120 houses have been damaged.
A 30-inch gas line was ruptured shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday evening. However, what caused the explosion has yet to be determined. 15 acres of land have been burned. The blaze was contained completely by Friday afternoon.
Photographs show the devastation: chimneys rising above piles of rubble. “It looks like a moonscape in some areas,” Millbrae Fire Chief Dennis Haag stated.
At least 52 people have been injured as a result of the blaze. Winds allowed the fire to move from structure to structure along Skyline Boulevard and Sneath Lane in San Bruno.
At first news of the explosion, many people feared that a plane had crashed as the neighborhood is very close to San Francisco International Airport. However, no records ever showed a plane as missing and the presumption was dismissed.
The pipe that exploded may be as much as 50 years old. A crater has been left in the land.
4 people remain dead and 5 remain unaccounted for.
So who is at fault?
The pipeline that exploded was in fact a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) line. Many people feel the situation could have been avoided.
It was stated that people had been complaining about the smell of gas for weeks and PG&E did nothing about it.
PG&E said they will take full responsibility if it turns out to be their fault.
After the fire…
A shelter for residents has been set up at a San Bruno Parks and Recreation Department center.
People have been treated for injuries at local hospitals. Hotels also gave rooms to fire victims.
Safeway has supplied food to the Red Cross for those displaced by the fire.
Blood is in demand, especially for O-negative. If you want to donate blood, call 888-393-GIVE.
View from a person who lives in the area
This event has been devastating for the whole Bay Area. As a resident of the Bay Area who lives perhaps only 15 miles away, I can say I did experience part of this fire. While I could not see flames, the smell of smoke was very noticeable. At around midnight last night a large procession of police cars went down one of our main streets. A disturbing presence of sirens occurred the whole evening.
On the other side of the town I live in, people stated that they were able to see the large cloud of smoke. Residents of the area were very concerned and wondered what was happening. Many of us, me included, know people who live in San Bruno and were worried about them. We are still unsure whether our friends lost their houses.
It is very important that we do our best to be charitable to the people impacted by this fire. Remember to keep them in your prayers.
Melia Wollan and Liz Robbins, Neighborhood in California Is Set Ablaze by Blast, The New York Times
Anonymous, San Bruno Fire Contained; 4 Dead, 38 Homes Gone, CBS 5 News
Marisa Lagos, Kevin Fagan, Michael Cabanatuan, Justin Berton, San Bruno fire levels neighborhood – gas explosion, San Francisco Chronicle
Susan Dusterhoft, Fire burns down San Bruno California neighborhood , Examiner
Ariel Schwartz, Is PG&E Responsible for San Bruno’s Gas Line Fire?, Fast Company