Explosion sets California neighborhood ablaze

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A tremendous explosion apparently fueled by a ruptured gas line tore through a San Francisco suburb Thursday night, destroying dozens of homes, killing at least one and critically injuring several others, the authorities said.

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The blast occurred in San Bruno, about 8 miles south of San Francisco, and was so loud and devastating that some officials initially suspected that a plane might have smashed into the neighborhood. Towers of flame shot 50 feet into the sky and a plume of ash-colored smoke hovered over the area. Aerial images showed multiple cars on fire and several homes completely consumed by a blazing fireball that stretched across an entire street.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the utility company that serves the area, said one of its gas lines had ruptured. But the company cautioned that the cause of the blast had not been determined, The Associated Press reported.

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