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Mysterious explosion, fire shuts down Highway 1 in beach town north of San Francisco

An explosion and fire forced authorities on Tuesday to shut down Highway 1 in Stinson Beach, seen here in a 2004 file photo.
An explosion and fire forced authorities on Tuesday to shut down Highway 1 in Stinson Beach, seen here in a 2004 file photo.
(Lee Romney / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities closed Highway 1 after fire from an explosion spread to multiple buildings Tuesday in a beach community just north of San Francisco.

Two people suffered minor injuries but refused treatment following the blast around 8:40 a.m. in Stinson Beach, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

The explosion blew off the roof a businesses and sparked a blaze that spread to other structures.

Two buildings were destroyed and two others were damaged, said Laine Hendricks, spokeswoman for the Marin County Fire Department.

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The California Highway Patrol shut down the two-lane coastal route as crews cleaned up debris.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. workers de-energized power lines in the area while authorities investigated the cause of the explosion.

Resident Ginny Felch, who lives about a half-mile away, said the explosion woke her.

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“I went outside and saw thick black plumes of smoke blowing up towards our home,” she told the newspaper. “I never heard anything like it. I thought it was a car crash with a tanker or something.”

Michelle Fox, who is staying at a home two blocks away, said she felt the ground shake.

“It was brutal,” she said. “I thought it was an earthquake and the roof over my house was caving in.”


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