At Least Four Killed in CA Gas Line Fire

By: SUDHIN THANAWALA & JOAN LOWY - Associated Press Writers
By: SUDHIN THANAWALA & JOAN LOWY - Associated Press Writers

Authorities say the official death toll in a blaze in a neighborhood near San Francisco is four, although the number of confirmed deaths is likely to increase.

San Francisco state Sen. Leland Yee told The Associated Press he was briefed at the scene Friday morning and at least six people have died.

Fire officials and Yee later said the official count is still four deaths. Emergency workers haven't been able to get into all the homes because the blaze is still smoldering, and many people are still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, a team of federal safety experts is heading to California to investigate the explosion and fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday that it has sent a four-member team to San Bruno, where the explosion occurred. The NTSB's duties include investigating pipeline accidents.

The utility company that serves the San Francisco Bay area says one of its gas lines ruptured in the vicinity of the blast, leaving a giant crater and sending flames tearing across several suburban blocks late Thursday.

Thursday night's massive explosion was apparently triggered by a broken gas line that sent flames roaring through the area, destroying more than 50 houses and damaging dozens of others.

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