Suspects in fire started by car crash into gas line surrender

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU and wires) -- Two people surrendered to police Thursday afternoon in connection with a hit-and-run crash that ruptured a gas line and triggered a destructive two-alarm fire at a strip mall in Santa Clara Wednesday.

Sara De Segura, 47, of Santa Clara, allegedly drove a white 2001 Honda Accord into a gas line at a strip mall located at Poinciana Drive and White Oak Lane around 3:50 p.m. Wednesday, police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.

Samuel Donis, 40, of Sunnyvale, also allegedly participated in the incident, but police did not provide further details.

Officers and fire crews responded to the strip mall after loud explosions were reported. The explosions were later determined to come from the ruptured gas line, Clarke said.

Crews arrived to find a heavy fire in progress at ABC Laundromat. The fire spread to four other businesses: KP Liquors, Poinciana Lounge, Sabor Salvadoreno, and Star Hair and Nails, he said.

Investigators found that a car struck the gas line on the north side of the strip mall and fled the scene, Clarke said.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control around 6 p.m., fire Battalion Chief David Rose said.

A firefighter and a person inside the laundromat suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment, according to Rose.

PG&E crews were called to the scene to stop service on the gas line, which was capped around 8:45 p.m., Rose said.

The businesses affected by the fire were deemed a total loss, Rose said.

In a tweet posted Thursday, the American Red Cross said they assisted people who lost their clothes at the laundromat due to the fire.

Around 2 p.m. Thursday, the suspects went to Santa Clara police headquarters where they confessed to the collision, were interviewed by investigators and were not arrested, according to Clarke.

The case will be sent to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office to determine whether or not charges should be filed, he said.

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