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

Associated Press
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.

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.

“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.”