SF home explosion neighbor recalls suspect bringing in 'heavy industrial equipment'

ByLena Howland, Suzanne Phan KGO logo
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Neighbor recalls red flags before SF home explosion
A neighbor who lived next door to the San Francisco Outer Sunset house that exploded recalls a few red flags looking back.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We're hearing more from neighbors who lived nearby the San Francisco Outer Sunset home that exploded last week, killing one person.

New home security video shows the moment a house exploded, rocking the San Francisco neighborhood Thursday. One person was arrested for this on Friday.

It happened in the Outer Sunset District off of 22nd Avenue and Noriega Street.

The blast caused serious damage to the homes next door and the cars parked out front, like the white Lexus belonging to Erin Gonzalez, seen in ABC7 News' SKY7 video the day of the blast.

She says while police still have it, she believes it's a total loss.

VIDEO: New video shows moment San Francisco home exploded, killing 1

New video shows the moment a San Francisco home exploded on Thursday that killed one person.

"I thought in that moment, like thank God I was not in that car because like I said, I was supposed to start work at 9, this happened around 9:15 or 9:30, I'm sure I wouldn't be in the car in that moment, but it's just, I'm happy I started early that day and that I was not around that car," Gonzalez said.

Both homes next door to the explosion were red-tagged by fire investigators on Thursday night.

Neighbors describe what they remember seeing and smelling before the blast.

"It smell like skunk. It smell like gas leaking," said Nang Phommavongsay. She lives in a yellow home right next door to the home.

Phommavongsay is so grateful that she, her husband and 6-year-old daughter were not home when the explosion rocked their neighborhood. She's still badly shaken.

RELATED: Arrest made in connection to SF home explosion; police report details new clues found in debris

"It's terrible. It's so terrible. I can't sleep," said Phommavongsay.

"My wife called crying and I could hardly understand what she was saying, but that our house was on fire and had been destroyed," David Garth, Phommavongsay's husband, said.

"I'm very thankful that we're alive and that we weren't in the house, and as far as our possessions go, obviously we have to rebuild from scratch," he said.

The woman's caretaker was severely burned. Phommavongsay knows her.

"It's so tragic. It so terrible," she said. "Her name is Lily. She's from Thailand."

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

One person was killed and another was injured after an explosion and three-alarm fire in San Francisco's Sunset District Thursday.

As for 53-year old Darron Price, police arrested him late Friday and he now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, manufacturing drugs, and child endangerment.

Phommavongsay says Price, his wife and their two kids moved in about two years ago.

The couple says looking back on it now, there were a few red flags.

"But if you see your neighbor bringing heavy industrial equipment, into their house, you might wonder," he said. "We didn't really think much of it, people bring big stainless steel sinks and things or appliances into their house."

Phommavongsay can't believe the turn of events and what Price is accused of.

"I'm in shock. How can you do this type of business with your wife is disabled and you have kids in there," said Phommavongsay.

RELATED: 5 families displaced after deadly SF house explosion, investigation into cause underway

Garth said he and Price would chat in the mornings. Garth is British. Price said he was Australian. Price also told Garth he flipped houses for a living.

"He seemed him like a nice enough guy," said Garth. "It's terrible. Not only to his own family, but it's caused devastation to us as well. And family on the other side lost their house."

Phommavongsay says she's heartbroken. Her family has lost everything in their home. "It's all gone," she said.

But, parents at Learning Bridge, the preschool she works at, have raised more than $30,000 for Phommavongsay and her family through a GoFundMe campaign.

San Francisco Supervisor Joel Engardio plans to hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. for neighbors impacted by this explosion and fire.

City departments will be there offering information and resources to help these neighbors move forward.

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