State of Emergency Declared in San Bruno

State officials declared a state of emergency in San Bruno after a massive gas explosion that rocked a neighborhood Thursday evening, destroying dozens of homes and displacing hundreds of residents.

Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, acting governor while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Asia, was in the area Friday morning and is expected to address the public at some point in the morning.

On Friday morning, state officials had confirmed that at least four people were dead. They also said 52 patients were being treated; three of them with critical burns. Four firefighters werealso being treated for injuries.

The American Red Cross is working to help families whose homes were destroyed. Woody Baker-Cohn a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said that a lot of people want to donate clothing, blankets and other items but at this point, those items are not necessary. If anyone wants to donate money, they should go to the Red Cross website.

All the scchools were closed in the San Bruno School District for Friday.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, whose district encompasses San Bruno, ventured into the heart of his community to assess the damage and develop a plan to assist those affected in coming weeks.

Cal Fire has reported that 53 homes have been destroyed and 120 have been damaged. Hundreds of people have therefore been affected by the disaster, Yee said.

"My heart and prayers go out to the families and victims of this devastating tragedy," he said.

All available state emergency resources have been deployed to San Bruno, including crews from the California Emergency Management Agency and Cal Fire.

At least two air tankers, two helicopters and 10 engines provided by both agencies are responding at the scene. Although emergency crews were focused on tackling the immediate problems at hand, Yee said that he traveled to San Bruno Thursday night to  strategize a long-term recovery effort.

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Bay City News contributed to this report.

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