SAN BRUNO, Calif. (KCBS) _ California emergency officials say 53 homes have been destroyed and at least 120 others have been damaged in a massive blast and fire in San Bruno Thursday night. At least three people are dead and 55 others have been injured.
In an emailed statement, Pacific Gas and Electric said that one of its gas lines ruptured in the Crestmoor neighborhood of San Bruno shortly after 6 p.m.
The exact cause of the blast has not yet been determined. The company said it would “take accountability” if it was found to be responsible for the explosion.
Loud Explosion and Flames Erupt
Many witnesses and neighbors in the area heard what they called a loud explosion and saw a huge fireball shoot more than a thousand feet into the air.
KCBS listeners said they thought the explosion was so large that it might have been the result of a plane crash. One listener said she saw flames shoot from the ground during the explosion and then saw a continual wall of flames shoot off the field.
Many of those who evacuated their homes said there was also a large shaking, like in an earthquake. Most left with just the clothes that were on their back.
Numerous Injuries, at Least Three Dead
The coroner’s office has confirmed one death, although fire officials have told KCBS reporter Chris Filippi on the scene that at least two other bodies have been found in one of the burned homes.
Fire officials have not been able to go through all of the homes that have been damaged and are expected to continue their search Friday morning.
At least 55 people have been taken to local hospitals, with several in critical condition.
An evacuation center and two shelters have been set up for residents who have been affected by the blaze.
The Red Cross has set up the main shelter at the Veterans Memorial Recreations Center at City Park Way and Crystal Springs Road. Another has been set up at the Church of the Highlands on Monterey Drive.
More than 100 residents are being housed at the shelters.
An evacuation center has also been set up at the Bayhill Shopping Center.
San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson is also asking that all residents from the area check-in to make sure that everyone is accounted for.
The city has set up a hotline for people to check-in. The number is (650) 616-7180. Residents can also check-in in person at the shelters.
All San Bruno Park School District schools will be closed on Friday. Capuchino High School in San Bruno will be open.
Local blood centers are also calling for donations as they are expecting a supply shortage for fire victims.
Click here: Further emergency information
PG&E Prepared to Shoulder the Blame if Neccessary
Pacific Gas and Electric representatives say if the private energy company is found responsible for the disaster they will take accountability for it.
“All our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible situation,” said PG&E’s Jeff Smith.
Originally 5,000 customers in San Bruno and nearby areas lost electricity and gas, it’s unclear how many are still without power.
State and local officials plan to release new information about the fire at a news conference at 7 a.m., and KCBS will be there to cover it.