PG&E Contains Gas Leak That Caused San Francisco Explosion

PG&E officials meet as firefighters battle a fire following an explosion in San Francisco

PG&E officials meet as firefighters battle a fire following an explosion in San Francisco

She said crews were able to "squeeze" a 4-inch plastic gas line to eventually turn off the flow. Approximately 3,000 people are now left without electricity or gas, local news outlets reported, noting that "under 100" were displaced by the blaze.

Flames roar from a punctured gas line at the corner of Geary Blvd. and Parker Ave.in San Francisco, February 6, 2019. The U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which regulates pipeline safety, is gathering information on the blast to determine whether it will dispatch investigators, according to a statement.

Update, 2:15 p.m.: A spokesperson for the Fire Department says that the fire's severity has been raised to three alarms, as firefighters continue to battle the blaze. The public was being asked to stay clear of the area, while evacuations were ordered for a one-block radius around the explosion and fire zone. Authorities initially said five of them were missing, but the entire construction crew was found safe, and no other injuries were reported. The crews also used a manual shut-off, she added. The backhoe was consumed by flames.

It took utility crews more than two hours to put out the fire after private construction workers cut a natural gas line, igniting the towering flames, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said.

"We went outside and you could see the workers from the restaurant running down our block", he said. "It sounded like pressure was building up".

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"We were in the store, we heard nearly like an air noise", Michael, a worker at a nearby Verizon store, told KPIX 5.

Witnesses living near the explosion said the windows in their apartment started rattling Wednesday and they looked up to see shooting flames reflected in the glass. Construction workers saying get back. "I'm just hoping everything is okay".

Caroline Gasparini told AP she and her housemate grabbed their shoes, laptops and passports and fled.

"Had gas been turned off at the transmission line, that would have shut off almost the entire city of San Francisco", Subbotin said. They saw children at a nearby preschool preparing to leave.

In the first six years after the San Bruno explosion, PG&E installed more than 230 automatic or remote-controlled valves on its natural gas transmission network, so workers wouldn't need to manually shut off the flow of gas in an emergency.

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