Friday, September 10, 2010

California Inferno - Death Toll Unknown


Yesterday afternoon San Bruno California erupted in what appears to be a gas explosion. Residents in the area report feeling the shaking of their home as the explosion errupted, and reported seeing Flames leaping 100 to 300 feet in the air. This happened near Skyline Boulevard and San Bruno Avenue. Other residents said they saw the street rip apart and ran for their lives from a huge wall of flames. One man jumped into his car and drove through the flames. He said the explosion was followed by a hail of asphalt falling from the sky as the pipe line ripped through the street. His bumper was fried by the time he got to safety, but he made it.

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Pacific Gas and Electric Co. President Chris Johns said Friday morning a 30-inch gas pipe ruptured about three feet underground just before 6:30 p.m Thursday, but crews still haven't been able to determine the cause of the rupture or the blast because they can't get close enough. He was also aware of reports that some residents smelled gas in the area before the blast. However, he is looking to PG&E call reports before confirming. The blaze was 75 percent contained by midmorning, fire officials said.

The NTSB has sent a four-member team to San Bruno to investigate Thursday's blast.

Early Friday morning investigations revealed that 38 homes near the epicenter were completely destroyed, and many others damaged in the inferno that swept through at least 15 acres. Although many residents were away at work or school when the explosion occurred, it is still unknown how many people were actually trapped inside their homes and unable to escape. This Leaves the actual death toll unknown until a house to house search can be conducted. Gov. Abel Maldonado, acting governor, has confirmed the current death toll at 4 but that number is feared, may sharply rise as investigations continue. He does not believe terror was in any way involved.

Shelters have been set up for those in need at the San Bruno Parks and Recreation Department center at 251 City Park Way. Also you can go to Veterans Memorial Recreational Center, located at the corner of Crystal Springs and Oak avenues.

San Bruno also set up an emergency hotline for victims or people worried about friends or loved ones. That number is (650) 616-7180. They asked everyone who lived in the area to call the line and register. City manager Connie Jackson said, "It's urgently important that resident who have been evacuated or who voluntarily evacuated check in with the emergency hotline."



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