The blaze started near the intersection of Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue. Gas flammes sounded like a jet engine. The fire began around 1:20 p.m., apparently by crews working on fiber-optic wires. Residents in the area were panicked. Utility crews put out the fire about three hours after private construction workers cut a natural gas line, igniting the towering flames. PG&E spokesperson Blair Jones said shutting down the gas pipeline was a “very complex situation.” It was not immediately known if the valves controlling the flow of gas at the site of the Inner Richmond fire were automatic, remote-controlled or manually operated.
Officials evacuated several nearby buildings, including a medical clinic and apartment buildings. Vehicles on the street got rerouted. As of Wednesday at 5:20 p.m., approximately 2,500 people in the area were without electricity and about 300 were without gas. San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said no injuries were reported. PG&E is under heightened scrutiny over its natural gas pipelines after one exploded under a neighborhood south of San Francisco in 2010, killing eight people and wiping out a neighborhood in suburban San Bruno.