Gas Explosion in San Francisco Shoots fire that Burns Multiple Buildings
A gas explosion shot flames into the atmosphere for hours Wednesday and burnt five buildings, sending employees and residents fleeing into the streets. It required usefulness crews more than two hours to put the fire out after a gas line cuts, sparking the flames that were towering, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White explained. The building crew was found safe, and no injuries were reported, although authorities initially said five workers were lost.
Officials lacked several neighboring buildings, such as a health clinic and flat buildings, Hayes-White explained. As authorities cordoned off the residential and retail area vehicles on a busy street obtained rerouted. The fire damaged a building home Hong Kong Lounge II, a popular dim sum restaurant frequented by tourists and students in the University of San Francisco which made many “best of” lists.
Caroline Gasparini, 24, who resides catty-corner out of where the fire sparked, said her and her housemate have been in their own living room when the windows started rattling. She looked up to find flames reflected from the glass. “We went into crisis mode,” Gasparini said. “We caught our sneakers, grabbed our laptops and caught our passports and only abandoned.”
Gasparini said they saw workers of the restaurant run fleeing the cube down. Nick Jalali was cooking at home when the electricity cut out. “We didn’t hear anything,” he explained. “We just felt the vibration, and the next thing we knew, people were banging on the door to tell folks it is time to start evacuating.”
Firefighters worked to help keep the fire from spreading while Pacific Gas & Electric crews tried to close off the gas line. PG&E spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said state excavation rules required crews to dig by hand around other pipelines before they were eventually able to “squeeze” a 4-inch (10-centimeter) plastic lineup. She stated that since the fire has been contained to a limited area, the utility needed to weigh the threat from the fire with the risk of action.
“Had we turned off the gas to a transmission system, we’d have closed off gas to almost the entire city of San Francisco,” she explained. “The objective of the was to turn off the gas safely and as fast as possible.” In an earthquake, Subbotin said a transmission line would be shut off by PG&E. The company stressed that the workers who cut on the gas line are not connected with the nation’s biggest utility.
The fire started around 1:20 p.m., apparently by crews working on fiber-optic wires, Hayes-White said. Joseph Feusi said that he was awoken by what seemed like a jet engine and lives four blocks away. Feusi, that works nights and sleeps in the day, said he could see the flames from his home. “I feel that the eight guys are really lucky they did not get blown to bits,” he said.
After one burst at 2010 below a locality south of San Francisco, killing eight people and wiping out a locality in San Bruno, pG&E is under increased scrutiny over its gas pipelines. A U.S. estimate PG&E $3 million for a conviction on six felony charges of failing to properly maintain the pipeline and the usefulness remains under a national judge’s view in that case.
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