SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Fire units were quickly able to contain a bus fire that happened at a gas station at 9th Street and Howard in San Francisco, according to authorities.
Several people tweeted out images and video of the fire burning at the Chevron station at the busy intersection. The photos appeared to show a paratransit bus in flames near the station’s pumps shortly after 2:30 p.m.
The blaze produced a thick column black smoke. A witness reported that there were up to eight SFFD trucks on the scene.
The SF Fire Department Twitter account sent out images showing the burned-out body of the bus and stated the fire was brought under shortly after 3 p.m.
A fire department spokesperson later said the bus driver said he stopped and ran into station because the bus was overheating. By time he got inside, smoke and flames were coming from engine.
An employee inside the Chevron station hit the internal gas shutoff to keep the flames from blowing their underground fuel tanks.
“We did it right away,” said gas station employee Zet Somantang. “It’s the first thing that we have to do.”
Somantang said it was that the first time he has ever had to hit the shutoff valve.
Before firefighters could arrive, witnesses said they heard two explosions.
“It was literally like a torch, just shooting straight up into the under canopy up there,” said Charles Caillier, the manager at the Burger King that is part of the gas station. “I told the customers to get out.”
When firefighters arrived, they began evacuating the area around Ninth and Howard in SoMa and knocking down flames.
Fire officials said they believe explosions during fire were likely tires on the bus exploding from heat.
“I believe preliminarily that they were the tires that were exploding,” said SFFD Asst. Chief Tom Siragusa. “Though we’re evaluating the LPG tanks to see if that might’ve failed on the inner part of the vehicle.”
There were initially no reported injuries in the fire, but the public information officer later noted that one firefighter was hurt by piece of falling fire department equipment.