Gas leak prompts evacuations near Bernal Heights

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About 100 people, evacuated from their San Francisco neighborhood due to a gas explosion, were finally allowed back inside after six hours.

Eight tenants, however, at the home where the explosion happened, will not be allowed back inside and it is unknown how long they will be homeless. A temporary shelter was set up at the Mission YMCA.

470 residences had gas knocked out. As of 5pm, all but 120 residences had power restored. A PG&E spokesperson said 120 residences would be without gas for the "foreseeable future."

The explosion happened in the Saint Mary's Park area of Bernal Heights off Mission and Bosworth streets around 10 o'clock this morning.

PG&E crews weren't able to turn off the gas until after one o'clock this afternoon, three hours after the initial explosion. PG&E officials said it took so long because they had to safely locate two valves and turn them off first before isolating the leak.

"There was a huge pop and the house just sort of shook a bit," said Elizabeth Churchill, whose house is directly across the street from the where the explosion happened.

"I was just leaving for work, I was, like, standing opening the door and and I was at the top of my door and I was like oh my god what is that noise? And I turned and looked and it was just like boom!" 

Authorities say it happened in the garage of a three-story home on the 39 hundred block of Mission Street, after a call came in regarding a strong smell of gas.

The explosion blew out the garage door and shattered windows of the house next door.
Luckily no one was hurt.

"It appears to me that there was buildup of gas in the garage with the pilot light which caused the explosion," said SFFD Battalion Chief Rex Hale. Firefighters were ready to fight a fire, but thankfully, there were no flames to extinguish.

Firefighters then went door to door evacuating 19 homes along Mission, Bosworth and College Terrace streets.

"I was hoping we'd be let back in pretty quick so I just walked out in my pajamas," said Keerthana Hanumenthadwda.

But it wasn't until six hours later that officials lifted the evacuation order.