An explosion and fireball rocked San Bruno, Calif., destroying 53 homes and killing at least one person. The explosion apparently came from a high-pressure gas line.

Fire shot hundreds of feet into the air at 6.15 pm local time Thursday, KTVU reported. More than 20 people were taken to hospital to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation. The California Public Utilities Commission and utility company PG&E (PCG) are investigating what caused the explosion, MarketWatch said.

"We heard what sounded like a plane, then all of a sudden an explosion," resident Carmann Robbins told KTVU. "The flames were just spreading all through the houses. I don't think the people had time to get out. It (the fire) was jumping from one house to one house to another."

Authorities are using air tankers, helicopters and fire engines to fight the blaze. A compromised water main has hampered their efforts.

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