There is still no explanation for a dramatic explosion that occurred at a single-family home on 22nd Avenue in the Sunset District Thursday morning, but rumors of a fatality were confirmed when a body was recovered Thursday night.
The powerful explosion rocked the neighborhood around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and accounts flowed in from neighbors on 22nd Street as well as those who live blocks away. One neighbor who was sitting in her car on the street tells ABC 7 that her car windows were shattered in the blast, and Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson said the explosion knocked two homes off their foundations.
In addition to destroying the home it occurred in, at 1734 22nd Avenue, the home next door at 1730 22nd Avenue was also destroyed, and on the other side, at 1738, significant damage also occurred. Residents of two other homes, at the addresses 1726 and 1742, have also not been allowed to return home while the structures are inspected, as ABC 7 reports.
Homes across the street also suffered damage, with neighbors telling ABC 7 that they now had doors that either wouldn't open or shut properly, as well as shattered windows. Five cars on the street also reportedly were damaged.
Neighbors describe a chaotic scene after what felt like a brief but powerful earthquake. Karen Lei, a neighbor on the street, tells KTVU, "Police were yelling at me, ‘get out, get out, get out!' Somebody told me to get out because there may be a gas line that's going to blast soon."
Lei may have lived just next door. As she told KTVU, "As I was leaving, I saw my house was on fire. I've been living here since 1993. Nice neighborhood, hard-working family, everybody's here… quiet. I lost my livelihood in a second for sure."
Liz Nguyen, who told ABC 7 she was sitting in her car on 22nd Avenue about to take her daughter to school when the explosion occurred, said, "I thought it was a bomb, I thought a bomb had gone off. My windows shattered in the car."
Nguyen also had details about who resided in the home, adding, "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."
It was likely the nurse whom authorities have described as the resident in the house who suffered serious injuries, and remains hospitalized.
Neither the SFFD or the medical examiner have identified the person who died, but KTVU reports that authorities and K9s were searching for a woman on Thursday. A body was subsequently pulled from the rubble just after 6 p.m.
Information about the victims in the fire is said to be forthcoming.
The total number of residents displaced is still not clear.
Top image via SFFD