SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Utility crews and firefighters remained on scene overnight following Wednesday's massive gas line explosion in San Francisco's Inner Richmond neighborhood.
PG&E crews were able to restore power to the area, but 300 people remained without natural gas service as of early Thursday morning. Before gas service can be restored, water must be removed from the gas line and crews must go door to door to inspect homes and businesses in the area.
The explosion happened around 1 p.m. Wednesday, when a contractor for Verizon -- MasTec -- struck a gas line near the corner of Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue.
"On behalf of all of us at MasTec, we want to express our deep concern for those affected by the gas line rupture earlier today," said MasTec Group President John Higgins." Along with others, we have initiated an investigation of the event and that investigation is ongoing at this time."
Crews on the scene of Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue in San Francisco on February 7, 2019, the day after a major natural gas line explosion in the area. (CBS)Workers scrambled, as the line exploded, and shot flames 40 feet into the air, for about two hours.
PHOTO GALLERY: Explosion Starts Gas-Fueled Fire In San Francisco
To shut off the gas, PG&E crews had to dig through the asphalt by hand using shovels, which took another two hours.
A giant orange fireball sent diners at the Chinese restaurant next door running for their lives.
Sisters Cindy and Judy Chan were inside the Hong Kong Flower Lounge II restaurant--a Top 100 restaurant on San Francisco Chronicle's list--celebrating Chinese New Year with their parents, sitting right next to the fire when it erupted.
"I heard popping sounds. I thought it was fire crackers because it's Chinese New Year," said Cindy Chan. Within seconds, all they could see was a bright orange glow surrounding the restaurant.
Five buildings were damaged. There were no injuries.
By law, the contractor is supposed to request PG&E come out and mark the locations of gas lines, and the utility company must comply within two days. It is unclear if any of that happened.
The contractor, based in Florida, said they are working with investigators and would not comment until the investigation is complete.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, westbound Geary Boulevard remained closed, while the eastbound direction is open. Turk, California, Divisadero and Arguello streets are being recommended as alternate routes.
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