Gas line rupture causes four-alarm fire in Portola district 

click to enlarge The Fire Department said the blaze was put out at 6:30 p.m. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • The Fire Department said the blaze was put out at 6:30 p.m.

A construction worker was badly burned after a gas line ruptured and caused a four-alarm fire in two buildings Tuesday afternoon in the Portola district, the Fire Department said.

The worker was trying to hook up a gas line on the sidewalk outside a vacant building at 2809-2813 San Bruno Ave. about 3:45 p.m. when the gas ignited, spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The spewing line was not shut off until 5:50 p.m., PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said. Gas burned for more than two hours because crews could not get close enough to the valve to shut it off, Molica said, adding that closing it from a distance would have affected “hundreds of customers.”

The Fire Department said the blaze was put out at 6:30 p.m.

Molica said initial reports indicated that third-party construction workers had struck the six-inch gas line.
A permit for construction on the building was issued to Greatwall Building Construction Inc. of San Leandro in July 2011, according to records with The City’s Department of Building Inspection. Ivan Pan, owner of Greatwall, confirmed his company was working on the house, but said a third-party contractor was doing gas work and that his crew was not injured.

Another permit for the building was issued in November to install a sprinkler system on the first floor, records show.

The burned worker was taken to St. Francis Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Talmadge said.
The explosion set fire to the vacant building and an adjoining one housing a dental office.

“The gas flow, when it ignited, it was flowing into the building,” Talmadge said.

Two firefighters were treated at a hospital, one for exhaustion and the other for a minor cut, Talmadge said.

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