San Jose House Explosion Kills One

Neighbors Say 87-Year Old Woman Lived In Home

By George Kiriyama
|  Sunday, Mar 7, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM PDT
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San Jose House Explosion Kills One

jose Diaz

Fire trucks setting up during the sylmar fire

Some were watching TV

Others were eating dinner.

Then their homes shook. Neighbors in the area near Linda Vista Street and Joanne Avenue in the Alum Rock area of East San Jose ran outside and saw flames shooting out of the windows, the garage, and the front door of the corner home.

Joshua Peters shot video on his Blackberry phone.

"I saw a house fully engulfed in flames," Peters said. "There wasn't much we could do."

The explosion blew out the windows and doors. Shattered glass, a lampshade and pictures from the living room were scattered on the streets.

"It was a huge boom," next door neighbor David Jay said. "It sounded  like a car ran into a house."

San Jose firefighters arrived and attacked the fire from all directions. They found a body near the kitchen. It was burned beyond recognition. Neighbors say an 87-year old woman lived alone. They rushed to her home to try and rescue her, but the flames and heat were way too much.

"It was really painful to feel that powerless and hoping that somehow she was in the part of the house that the fire wasn't in," Jay said.

Fire investigators say it may take a few days before they know what caused the explosion.

Neighbors say the elderly woman used to live in Hawaii and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Firefighters say they won't  know the person's identity until the Santa Clara County coroner examines the body.

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