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At least one dead, many

injured in San Bruno gas

line explosion
By Roman Gokhman
Bay Area News Group

Posted: 09/09/2010 07:02:15 PM PDT

*Refresh page to view map.

10:05 p.m. -- A spokeswoman for San Mateo County

OES confirms there has been one fatality and more
than 25 homes involved in the blaze. San Mateo
County Sheriff's Office Detective Sean O'Donnell said
several hundred people have been displaced.

9:45 p.m. -- KGO-TV reports San Mateo emergency

services confirming one fatality George said the heat of the fire would be upwards of
1,200 degrees, which could create radiant heat hot
9:30 p.m. -- KPIX-TV interviewed a resident who enough to burn a couch inside a brick home
said there have been numerous complaints of gas through the window.
smells over the past few days and PG&E has been
out to investigate more than once. He said that theoretically, firefighters would first
help residents escape and gather resources, as they
9:20 p.m. -- Reporter Matthias Gafni spoke with waited for the gas to be turned off. They would then
retired Contra Costa Fire Battalion Chief Dave draw lines at areas on the perimeter where they
George. would work on preventing the fire from crossing
and slowly work their way toward the center as
"What makes this fire so devestating and so difficult
is essentially it creates the equivalent of an 8-alarm
fire "This is really a worst case scenario," he said. "The
in the heart of a residential neighborhood," George
said. "It behaves differently than most other fires thing to something like this is when a wildland fire
because it grows in all directions at the same time. hits a residential neighborhood."
Whatever it wants to do, it does."
9:15 p.m. -- ABC7 reports San Francisco Giant Pablo
Sandoval rented a home in the burned area for his

mother. She was evacuated and is safe.

KPIX-TV reported that PG&E shut off the gas supply

to the area.

9:10 p.m. -- Reporter Sean Maher is at St. Francis

Memorial Hospital: At least three people have been
transported to the hospital from Seton Medical
Center in Daly City, where the patients were

ABC7 reports: Emergency Hotline for Shelter Info:

650-616-7180. Evacuation Center: San Bruno
Veterans Memorial Recreation Center at 251 City A massive fire burns in a residential neighborhood after an
Park Way. explosion Thursday, Sept 9, 2010 in San Bruno. (John Green / Bay
Area News Group)
"It was like this big ball of flame that was going up
American Red Cross: Evacuation center is also open the street," Siacotos said of the fire.
at the Bay Hill Shopping Center at San Bruno Ave and
Cherry Street. Red Cross volunteers on scene to They were told by police to head down to Bayhill
help. Shopping Center, where dozens of people are
milling around, some crying, some hugging
9 p.m. -- San Mateo County Times reporter Mike neighbors and loved ones.
The scene at Bayhill is disorganized, residents said,
A family of four who did not give their names tried and no command center has been established by
to get into their car to escape but the car was too emergency responders. Residents lost cell service
hot. after the explosion, and many of them are on their
phones, trying to connect with friends and family
Marilyn Siacotos, a neighbor who lives at the members.
intersection of Fairmont Drive and Concord Way,
drove by and picked up the family, consisting of a Neighbors whose houses were not immediately
father, a mother, a son and a daughter. The family affected by the
lost its cat in the fire.
explosion said police officers came by and told
All them to flee their homes. They did not have time to
grab any belongings.
five said the explosion originated at a home in the
immediate vicinity of Fairmont Drive, a one-block 8:45 p.m. -- Kaiser Hospital is reporting 15
road enclosed on both sides by Claremont Drive. injuries. And a spokeswoman with San Francisco
General Hospital said there are at least five patients

there -- four women and one man -- in critical they'll do tonight, but they have a lot of relatives in
condition with significant burns. the area and have been invited to stay with them.

8:40 p.m. -- Two brothers, Bob and Ed Pellegrini, "I just don't want to leave even though I know
live near the house at the center of the explosion. nothing is there," she said. "I keep thinking I will
find something."
They said they thought it was an earthquake at first,
because the ground shook violently, but then they Marilyn Siacotos, 76, lives on Concord Way near
felt the heat from the flames. Fairmont Drive.

"All of a sudden we saw these flames out our She escaped out her back door because the flames
window," Bob Pellegrini said. "It looked like hell on were coming down the street. She helped some
earth. I have never seen a ball of fire neighbors get out and then drove away in her car.

that huge." "I didn't look back," she said.

It was too hot to escape out the front door, so the As she left she heard windows breaking.
brothers ran out the back and up the hill, the fire
chasing them. It felt like a blowtorch on the back of 8:25 p.m. -- At least three critical victims being
their necks, they said. flown to St. Francis.

The brothers said their house and four cars were Palo Alto Daily News Staff Writer Diana Samuels
destroyed in the fire. spoke with Claremont Drive resident John
McGlothlin at the Bayhill Shopping Center where he
"The house is gone," Ed said. "I have nothing. was evacuated to.
Everything is gone. We're homeless."
McGlothlin was at home when the explosion
Claremont Drive resident Patty Blick said she knows happened.
her house was destroyed.
"To me, it felt like an earthquake -- hearing
"My house is gone; I'm just not really here right rumbling, movement," he said.
now," she said, sniffling.
He saw a few people with burns, but wasn't certain
Blick was driving home from work at about 6:10 p. about the extent of their injuries.
m. when she was suddenly met with flames and heat.
She drove to the Bayhill Shopping Center and saw He and his wife brought their dog and nothing else
her house burning on TV. to the shopping center. McGlothlin went to a CVS
store and bought a sweatshirt.
She said she and her husband are not sure what

"We're getting some essentials," he said. explosion. Five more went to area hospitals with
severe burns, including Javier Ramos, who later
The couple left their cell phones at home, but died in the hospital.
bought new ones at the Radioshack at the shopping
center. Radioshack is charging the cell phones. 7:55 p.m. -- Residents in Fremont are saying they
can see the smoke in that city.
8:10 p.m. -- Any off-duty medical staff please report
to Seton Medical Center in Daly City. 7:55 p.m. -- Latest from the Associated Press:

That hospital has received three patients so far, one SAN BRUNO -- A massive fire burned homes as it
is critical condition with burns, spokeswoman Beth roared through a mostly residential neighborhood
Volz said. in the hills south of San Francisco following an
explosion early Thursday evening.
That person will be flown to St. Francis Burn Center
in San Francisco. The other two patients have minor The fire is burning a few miles from San Francisco
injuries. International Airport, prompting speculation the
blaze was sparked by a plane crash. Federal Aviation
KPIX-TV also reporting that Kaiser Hospital in South Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the
San Francisco has received at least two burn victims. agency has no record of a crash.

Zen Hospice Project offers via a Twitter posting: Spokesmen for local airports also said they knew of
"Our hearts go out to all the families affected by the no missing planes.
San Bruno fire. We have grief support services
available 415.863.2910." Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility company that
serves the San Francisco Bay area, is looking into
8:00 p.m. -- The explosion was believed to be the possibility of a natural gas explosion but had
caused by a break in a two-foot-wide natural gas no additional information, said spokesman J.D.
pipeline. In November 2004 a fuel pipeline Guidi.
explosion killed several construction workers in
Walnut Creek in November 2004. Live footage shown on KPIX-TV showed at least a
dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as
A 60-foot pillar of fire erupted from a punctured high as 60 feet in the air as the fire fueled itself on
Kinder-Morgan petroleum pipeline beside Las the burning homes. Planes and helicopters flew over
Lomas High School when a a backhoe digging too the neighborhood dumping water in an effort to
close apparently clipped the high-pressure fuel stanch the flames.
line. Contractors were working to install a massive
water pipe for the East Bay Municipal Utility District Witnesses say a loud explosion was felt just before
just a few feet from the fuel line's path. the flames erupted around 6 p.m.

Two men were found dead after the initial Jane Porcelli, 62, said she lives on a hill above

where the fire is centered. She said she thought she
heard a plane overhead with a struggling engine. A South San Francisco fire official confirmed earlier
that firefighters were responding to a fire, but had
"And then you heard this bang. And everything no other details.
shook except the floor, so we knew it wasn't an
earthquake," Porcelli said. Witnesses say a loud explosion was felt just before
the flames erupted around 6 p.m. Thursday.
"I feel helpless that I can't do anything. I just gotta
sit by and watch." The area where the fire is burning in a mostly
residential area a few miles from San Francisco
7:55 p.m. -- Steve Mahaley, district coordinator for International Airport, but the Federal Aviation
the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, Administration and a spokesman for the airport say
said the office is providing support to San Bruno they have no record of a plane crash.
emergency responders. The office is working on
sending out a reverse 911 message provide safety A caller to KPIX-TV says that the fire originated at a
information to area residents. gas station.

7:50 p.m. -- Burn victims and other injured people 7:15 p.m. -- Alameda County Fire District is sending
are being taken to San Francisco General Hospital a strike team of engines to assist.
for treatment, KTVU reports.
7:10 p.m. -- Northbound I-280 has been closed at
7:30 p.m. -- KTVU is quoting a source within PG&E Skyline Blvd. because of an explosion & 6-alarm fire
as saying that the cause of the explosion and in San Bruno.
subsequent fire was indeed a break in a natural gas
line. The source says that the broken line is line
7:10 p.m. -- KRON-TV reports: Kaiser in South City
number 132, a large 16- to 24-inch pipe. They do
not know when they will be able to repair it. on El Camino Real reports six people have been
admitted as a result of the fire, three of them are
7:18 p.m. -- Associated Press reports a massive fire
is roaring through a mostly residential
neighborhood in San Bruno. 7:05 p.m. -- KGO is reporting there are reports of
mulitple evacuations and cars burning in the street.
Drivers are asked to avoid the area if possible.
Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities
are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and
is now consuming homes in a residential 7:05 p.m. -- Yasmine Kury, who lives at the
Peninsula Place Apartments, across Interstate 280
from the fire, spoke with the Palo Alto Daily News:

Television live shots show at least a dozen homes

destroyed, with flames reaching now as high as 50 "We heard it and felt it and everyone ran out of the
building," Kury said.
to 60 feet into the air.

Neighbors were talking about how they could feel Witnesses say a loud explosion was felt just before
the building shake and heard the noise. At first Kury the flames erupted around 6 p.m. Thursday.
thought it was the engine of a plane exploding,
because that's what it sounded like, but now no one The area where the fire is burning in a mostly
knows what it is. residential area where the flames continue to roar
through a mostly residential area near Skyline
"It was just a huge explosion," she said. Boulevard and San Bruno Avenue.

Eventually people went back inside and closed the

windows to their apartments because they could
start to smell the smoke.

She said her boyfriend was driving down San Bruno

and there was ash falling on his windshield.

Kury also said she has lost power in her apartment.

6:55 p.m.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration,

the firestorm was not caused by a plane crash.

"We don't think at this time that the explosion was

from a plane," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

6:35 p.m.

SAN BRUNO -- Firefighters are battling a large fire

burning that started on a hillside and is now
consuming homes in residential neighborhood in
the San Bruno area.

Television live shots show flames at least 20 feet

high shooting into the air.

A South San Francisco fire official confirmed earlier

that firefighters were responding to a fire, but had
no other details.