VOA NEWS – Firefighters in California are dousing the remnants of a massive blaze, which raged for hours after a gas pipeline exploded, destroying dozens of homes and killing at least four people.
The fire was 75 percent contained by mid-morning Friday. Officials say it broke out Thursday evening in a neighborhood in San Bruno, near San Francisco, after an explosion apparently triggered by a broken gas line.
More than 50 people were injured in the fire and blast, which left behind a giant crater. The local fire chief said more than 53 homes were destroyed, with 120 more damaged.
Acting California Governor Abel Maldonado, filling in during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visit to Asia, declared a state of emergency in the area. He called the incident a “horrific tragedy.”
Local utility company Pacific Gas and Electric confirmed that a natural gas line ruptured, and sent crews to shut off the gas flow. But the company has not been able to get close enough to the explosion site to determine the cause.
More than 100 people were in evacuation centers early Friday, as officials tried to account for missing persons.