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San Bruno fire contained; search continues for possible victims


Officials said Friday the fire caused by a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., has been contained.

Searchers have combed through 75% of the homes destroyed by the blast and there are no residents unaccounted for. But they won't know for certain about additional victims until they search the remaining homes, which are now too hot to enter.

At least four people were killed and 52 injured in the explosion and fire.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, serving as acting governor while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Asia, declared a state of emergency in the Crestmoor neighborhood.

A total of 52 people have been hospitalized, including three with third-degree burns. Four firefighters who suffered smoke inhalation were treated and released.

Millbrae Fire Chief Dennis Haag walked the neighborhood early Friday morning, counting the number of destroyed houses.

"It was pretty devastating. ... It looks like a moonscape in some areas," Haag said.

The site of the explosion is marked by a 30-foot-diameter crater filled with water. Chunks of asphalt are strewn about, and melted cars line a nearby road.

Residents desperate to check on their homes and loved ones gathered Friday at a barricade outside the neighborhood.

Kevin Matsukura, 18, a freshman at Skyline College who lives within a block of the explosion, went to the barricade with his father. He said he was at home when he heard the blast and his ears began popping.

“I was just sitting in my room. It just kept getting louder. I thought it would be another earthquake,” he said. “It sounded like a plane overhead."

--Tony Barboza, Paloma Esquivel, Molly Hennessy-Fiske in San Bruno and Rong-Gong Lin and Sam Quinones in Los Angeles

Photo: Firefighters check for hot spots in the rubble of homes along Claremont Drive in San Bruno, Calif. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Photos: Fire in San Bruno

Comments () | Archives (4)

Those poor people. Lucky more we not harmed. Unbelievable.

Do you suppose more of the same will occur during and following a great earthquake beneath a large urban/suburban center in California?

Live near San Bruno: There was no earthquake that triggered this last night. But the explosion rocked the ground in for at least a mile. It was a 30 inch gas line that is about 40 yrs old. Probably worn area in the line. No one knows yet. But some think that every time we have an earthquake, it could disturb or weaken underground lines. The gas utilities do inline inspections with a device they can monitor on computer. Don't know how often these inspections are done.
In the Northridge earthquake, there was a ruptured gas line along with a ruptured water line. It looked like the water was on fire. But it was smaller. Utilities don't use the big transmission lines as they used to. I don't doubt the older larger lines are vulnerable.

Hi.. I have a nephew that was living where the explosion took place, and since that day he has not called his wife and his son. His name is Celin Noe Caceres Garcia, he is a truck driver.

In anyone knows something about this man, I will appreciate to e mail me such information.. Thanks.


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