An explosion near San Francisco International Airport set several homes ablaze late on Thursday, with a petrol station apparently at the centre of the powerful fire, witnesses said.
The fire is burning in the town of San Bruno a few miles from the airport, prompting speculation it was sparked by a plane crash. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency has no record of a crash. Spokesmen for
local airports also said they knew of no missing planes.
Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility company that serves the San Francisco Bay area, is looking into the possibility of a natural gas explosion but had no additional information, said spokesman JD Guidi.
“I heard a sound like a low flying plane, then all of a sudden the house shook,” said Tina Diloia, who was with her baby in their condominium in the town of San Bruno, just south of San Francisco, when the explosion occurred about a half-mile away.
“Then there was another explosion. I went outside and there was debris falling from the air.”
Local utility officials were investigating whether the source of the explosion was a large natural gas pipeline.