Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Explosion, fire destroy California homes

After a massive explosion rocked a neighborhood near San Francisco International Airport on Thursday, flames consumed a residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. At least a dozen homes were destroyed by the intense blaze. Two people were reported injured.

Getty Images

After a massive explosion rocked a neighborhood near San Francisco International Airport on Thursday, flames consumed a residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. At least a dozen homes were destroyed by the intense blaze. Two people were reported injured.

SAN FRANCISCO — A huge explosion — possibly from a gas line — rocked the nearby suburb of San Bruno shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, sending up a massive, smoky fireball seen for miles and igniting a blaze that gobbled up at least dozens of houses in a densely populated neighborhood.

The fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco. The explosion Thursday evening shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said.

The fire was burning in the town of San Bruno a few miles from San Francisco International Airport, prompting initial speculation that it was sparked by a plane crash. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency had no record of a crash. Spokesmen for local airports also said they knew of no missing planes.

Pacific Gas and Electric is looking into the possibility of a natural gas explosion but had no additional information, said spokesman J.D. Guidi.

Live footage on KPIX-TV showed at least a dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as high as 60 feet in the air as the fire fueled itself on the burning homes. Planes and helicopters flew over the neighborhood dumping water in an effort to stanch the flames.

One injured person was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and one to St. Francis Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan.

There was no immediate word on fatalities.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported late Thursday on its website that the fire quickly jumped from structure to structure as emergency crews rushed in and residents cleared out. The paper said residents heard rumbling before the blast

A local fire chief told an area television reporter he believed the fire was caused by a "high pressure gas line."

Sheriff's deputies and police were evacuating residents near the fireball. Firefighters went door to door, ordering people out of their houses and setting up equipment.

Drivers on nearby Interstate 280 and other roads near the area stopped to gawk as the relentless flames surge skyward.

Omar Naber and his mother, Lana Naber, were in their home when the house shook violently.

"I thought it was the biggest earthquake ever," he said.

He ran to the front door and tried to open it, but the door handle was too hot. He ran to his room, grabbed his car keys and fled the house with his mother. As they ran to the car, which was parked on the street, they could see a fireball. The heat was so intense, it burned the hair off his arms.

He said he believes the explosion hit perhaps the next street over.

Information from the San Francisco Chronicle and Associated Press were used in this report.

Explosion, fire destroy California homes 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. District finals won't count for Pasco County students


    Scores from the district finals Pasco County students took in recent weeks will not count toward their semester grades or grade-point averages, superintendent Kurt Browning said Friday.

  2. Tampa International Airport morphing into a mini-city unto itself


    TAMPA — By the end of the 2026, Joe Lopano wants Tampa International Airport to function as its own little city.

    Artist rendering of phase two of the $1 billion construction expansion of Tampa International Airport. The airport is transforming 17 acres of airport property that will include at least one hotel, retail and office space and a gas station, among other things.
[Courtesy of Tampa International Airport]
  3. William March: Sheriff Gee denies his resignation was timed to help GOP


    Sheriff David Gee is denying through spokesmen that he planned his 2016 re-election and subsequent resignation to help Republicans hold the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. But Democrats say it seems obvious he did.

  4. Trump meeting with G-7 leaders after going on offensive


    TAORMINA, Italy — In the Middle East, President Donald Trump was feted with pageantry, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel seemingly in competition to outdo the other with the warmth of their welcomes and the depth of their pledges of cooperation.

    From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on Friday  in Taormina, Italy. [Getty Images]
  5. Perspective: As the toll climbs, advocates bring renewed attention to Florida gun violence


    Times Staff Writer

    Like most 12-year-old girls, Ra'Mya Eunice loved slumber parties.

    The Empire State Building in New York City was bathed in tangerine light last year to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day. It was part of the Wear Orange campaign led by the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety. [Courtesy of Everytown for Gun Safety]