Coming home from a business mixer about 8:30 last night, we took Market to Castro. We were inadvertently trailing a police car which had passed us with red lights and siren a mile before, quieted and slowed down, and started preening again as we followed him into the left turn lane.
Castro was blocked off with police crime scene tape, emergency equipment littered the street, and clumps of people were scattered inside the roped off area. We made a normally illegal hard left turn into17th Street, rolled down our windows as we detoured up Hartford, and heard someone on the sidewalk exclaiming to another pedestrian about the “explosion and fire”.
SF Gate.com had a skeleton story up. Two hours earlier a car had sped through the street, crashed, and careened. Gas tanks had exploded. One person was dead.
The action had hit the 400 block of Castro, the downtown street of our community. The initial impact was feet away from our burrito take-out and just across from our after-work gathering bar.
I searched online for the identify of the victim. I know so many people in the neighborhood, I searched news stories and blogs, channeling my worry-wart grandmother, hoping that I would not know the the person who had died. I found — and still can find — no identity for the victim.
Laying in bed, I remembered how the first years I lived in The City I felt that I had met a lot of people. Yet, in street scenes in parades I could go hours without seeing someone I knew. In recent times, this has changed. Even at the huge street fairs, I run into friends, or at least acquaintances, every so often.
So, my internal grandmother reasoned, it could be a friend of mine who had died.
This morning, my first action was to go to the well for updated information.
fuzzygruf and others had posted comments on the fire. Very neighborhood.
Gary included a link to unedited video from a local TV station (picture at right is from the KTVU video.) The film includes images of rescue workers apparently working on the man who died. They were calling him “Donnie”. (Grandmother doesn’t think I know an older man named Donnie.)
Other stories are on SFGate.com and on KGO-TV from Bay City News.
We’ll drive by the scene this morning if the street is reopened. Later today I will check to make sure my friends are okay and to find out what they saw, where they were, and to otherwise sit and chat.
I feel effected by the crash. Even if Grandmother and I didn’t know Donnie, he, people in the video, the pride in the work of the firefighters and police, are part of my community, part of my life.
That’s all so amazing when it hits so close to home. Cliff’s Variety is probably closed today, too.
We drove by Cliff’s about 8:30. There’s a sign in their window saying that they are closed indefinitely due to fire.
The sidewalk, street, and some storefronts look charred. We couldn’t tell if there was much damage inside.