1 dead, 2 injured after explosion knocks 2 SF homes off foundation, sparks 3-alarm fire, SFFD says

ByJ.R. Stone and Suzanne Phan KGO logo
Friday, February 10, 2023
1 dead, 2 injured after explosion knocks 2 SF homes off foundation
One person was killed and another was injured after an explosion and three-alarm fire in San Francisco's Sunset District Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Firefighters lined up shoulder to shoulder as rescue crews made a grim discovery Thursday night. Recovering the body of an individual who had been inside when an explosion went off here earlier in the day.

One person was killed and two others injured after an explosion and three-alarm fire in San Francisco's Sunset District prompted an evacuation and shelter-in-place orders Thursday, fire officials said.

As of late Thursday night, those living in 11 residences have been allowed back into their homes. Those living in five additional residences including 1726, 1730, 1734. 1738, and 1742 on 22nd Avenue are still unable to go home.

Liz Nguyen knows the people who live in the home where the explosion happened. She was sitting in her car about to take her daughter to school.

"I thought it was a bomb, I thought a bomb had gone off. My windows shattered in the car. It was a husband, and disabled wife, and 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," said Nguyen.

The explosion happened at 1734 22nd Avenue between Noriega and Moraga. The call for the fire came in before 9:30 a.m.

Officials say the injured victim was transported to the hospital and is in serious condition and is being treated for burns.

SKY7 is over the scene of a massive house fire in San Francisco
SKY7 is over the scene of a massive house fire in San Francisco's Sunset District on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

A San Francisco firefighter was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries but that person is back home Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, officials said there was a person still unaccounted for that lived at the residence but later Thursday SFFD confirmed that a body was found in the rubble of the partly collapsed home.

Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson called the explosion "really, really powerful" and says it knocked two homes off of their foundation. SKY7 views from the scene show how the house looks imploded, with walls completely collapsed.

She also says it destroyed the house to the left of it and damaged the house to the right as well. They did a complete search of both houses next door and no one was found inside.

Chief Nicholson says that the explosion blew out doors and windows across the street, and car windows up and down the street.

Investigators tell us at least three homes caught fire and at least three more were damaged by the blast. At least five cars were also damaged by the blast, too.

Jack Noriega was at work when a dramatic explosion rocked his neighborhood and blew out all the windows in his home on 22nd Avenue.

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"My living room window is blown out. 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," said Noriega.

Noriega's home was one of the two homes knocked off their foundation by the blast.

Neighbors said they heard the explosion and felt their houses shake from as far as 20 blocks away.

"All of a sudden, I heard a big boom and I was knocked off my chair. Glass was flying out the window, front door was busted," said resident Karen Lei.

MORE: 3-alarm fire tears through apartment building in San Francisco's NoPa; 2 firefighters, woman hurt

ABC7 News spoke to one man who lived across the street from the explosion and was hit in the face by flying shards of glass.

Two witnesses we talked to say they saw flames coming from the home right before the blast.

Firefighters alongside American Red Cross officials will continue to assist residents who were evacuated or displaced from the fire, according to Baxter. The number of residents displaced from the fire has not been determined.

The origin and cause of the explosion remain under investigation.

The Bay City News Service contributed to this article.

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