Five families have been forced from their homes due to a Thursday explosion and 3-alarm fire in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district, leaving one person dead.
It happened on Thursday around 9:30 a.m. near 22nd Avenue and Noriega Road. A firefighter was brought to the hospital with minor injuries but was released Thursday night. One individual who was inside the house was also critically harmed.
Neighbors relive the incident as police and fire investigators try to determine what led to the home explosion heard on a neighbor’s ring video in San Francisco’s Sunset District.
“I was sitting there and doing the work, and suddenly, the glass, shake, ohhh shake, shake, just like several people were shaking my window, and I was like, oh my gosh, my windows almost came down,” Angela Cheu, a neighbor said.
Less than two streets away, Cheu was inside her window business when she perceived what she initially believed to be an intrusion attempt.
“And after that, my friend called me, oh my window’s broken, my window broken,” she said.
One of the five families on 22nd Avenue instructed not to return overnight was her friend’s. Three homes, including the one that exploded, have red tags.
On Thursday night, San Francisco firefighters stood shoulder to shoulder as they observed the removal of a woman’s body from the wreckage.
“I thought it was a bomb; I thought a bomb had gone off,” Nguyen said. “My windows shattered in the car. It was a husband, and disabled wife, and a home nurse.
The home nurse came running out, and she was half charred. Her back half all charred, hair charred and curled up because of the flames.”
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A dozen or so investigators arrived the morning after the explosion to gather what appeared to be substantial canisters from within or close to the residence where it all occurred as potential evidence. Numerous doubts and concerns have been raised about the overwhelming amount of evidence.
“We have heard the gossip. The existence of the rumors is evident. Additionally, we observed the canisters exit the building, which is rare for a residential home structure fire, “Baxter stated. According to Baxter, numerous containers contain unidentified liquids.
“We had containers. 50-gallon drums were available. Chemicals were kept in buckets that we had. An investigating task team will assess each of those issues. Yesterday, we sent out hazmat team members to make all those chemicals and items safe for this situation, “said Baxte.
“They want to be sure that they are looking at everything when looking for an actual origin, which is where the fire may have started.
Once they discover that origin, they start to work on the reason, what caused this fire?” Added Baxter. “Our fire investigation task force investigates every fire in great detail.”
The explosion demolished the home and two adjacent houses, which San Francisco Fire Department Chief Jeanine Nicholson described as “very, really powerful.”
According to the investigators, the explosion damaged at least nine other residences and set at least three on fire. Also injured were at least eight automobiles.
When a tremendous explosion shook his neighborhood and blew out all the windows of his home on 22nd Avenue, Jack Noriega was at work.
“My living room window is blown out,” Noriega said. “My kitchen windows are blown out. My front door is jarred, so I can’t open that. And my side door, we can’t open that.”
Noriega’s house was one of the two houses that the blast blew off its foundation. Neighbors claimed they heard the explosion from as far out as 20 blocks away and felt their homes tremble.
One man who lived across the street from the explosion and was struck in the face by flying glass shards was interviewed by ABC7 News. Two witnesses who spoke with us reported seeing flames coming from the house just before the explosion.
As of right now, the cause of this fire is still being looked into, and according to fire officials, their investigation could take months due to the size of this incident.
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