A gas leak from a clothes dryer at a one-bedroom home burst into flames and sparked an early Friday morning explosion in Hayward, destroying the residence just as the man who lived there was able to escape with some minor cuts and bruises.
Firefighters asleep at a fire station about two and a half miles away say they were awakened by a rumbling, likely the sound of the blast. Moments later their fire alarms started going off.
They raced to the 24000 block of Fairview Avenue just after 5 a.m. and found flames shooting as high as 50 feet in the air from the single-story, 1,000-square-foot home.
Pieces of splintered wood and tar from the roof were scattered across the yard. The front door blew completely off, landing some 70 feet from the house.
Hayward fire inspectors and PG&E crews were called to help as power lines fell down and the fire was being fueled with the leaking gas, according to fire department spokesman Don Nichelson.
Despite the challenges, firefighters said they controlled the blaze within four minutes.
A neighbor called 911 after he heard the explosion at his house, and when he went to check out the noise, saw the man who lived there leave the small beige house just after the blast - but luckily, before the flames started spewing, firefighters said.
“For you to walk out of there with just a couple staples on your head, you’re pretty lucky,” neighbor Rex Gonzales said. “Someone is watching over them is all I can say.”
The home's tenant was taken to Eden Hospital in Castro Valley with "minor to moderate" injuries, though video images after the blast show that a dog seems to have died during the explosion. He was released Friday.
The total damage was estimated to be at $225,000. The home is a loss and three neighboring homes had windows blown out -- 12 in all.