SANTA CLARA (KPIX) – Two explosions rocked the industrial area of Santa Clara late Saturday afternoon, sparking a smoky fire at a chemical plant.
A witness described the scene as “scary.”READ MORE: UPDATE: 15 Injured, 20 Rescued After Fire Erupts Inside San Francisco Tenderloin Apartment Building
The first explosions came just before 4:30 p.m., Saturday. The blasts were felt a couple of miles away and the area was quickly evacuated as firefighters worked to get the upper hand on this dangerous blaze.
“I heard this loud explosion it was like a grenade went off and I took off running,” said Marc Finnegan, who was nearby.
Finnegan works across the street from the Air Products plant when he heard and felt the explosions. He captured images with his cellphone of flames shooting over the fence.
According to the Santa Clara Fire Department, a hydrogen tanker truck was being fueled and it started leaking. That is when the initial explosion went off. Workers tried to use the truck’s emergency shut-off valve but a portion of the valve was damaged.READ MORE: Two Die In San Francisco Shootings Early Saturday Morning
Battalion Chief Drew Miller said those workers are lucky to be alive since they stayed the proper distance away from their truck during the fueling process.
“It’s not like you and I when we are standing next to the pump. They were a distance away so that’s why they weren’t injured in the explosion,” said Chief Miller.
Hydrogen burns invisibly so firefighters had to use thermal imaging cameras to make sure the flames were out, according to Miller.
Luckily, nobody was injured and just a few tankers damaged in the fire.MORE NEWS: Four Wounded In San Jose Early Saturday Morning Shootings
The Santa Clara Fire Department said the fire didn’t have much of an impact on the air quality. However, there was a shelter-in-place order issued for a nearby animal shelter.