My whole neighborhood filled up with flames last night. I heard sirens and helicopters but didn't realize this was what happened until this morning.
Fuck! If that would have been Nathan or Jeff in that BMW my life would be over right now.
I'm republishing the article after the jump just to keep it on my blog after the paper archives it.
A fiery crash in San Francisco's Castro District on Thursday night killed one person, injured another and sent flames racing along a line of parked cars, leaving at least eight vehicles gutted.
Witnesses said a Buick heading south on Castro Street ran a red light at Market Street, swerved into the northbound lane and slammed into a BMW that was turning right to go into a parking lot for the Castro Theater at 6:38 p.m.
Both cars burst into flames, and the BMW was knocked into a parked car, while the Buick careened into at least three more cars, said Thomas Willows, a Lower Haight resident. The fire spread quickly down the line of unoccupied vehicles and several motorcycles.
Michael Gamble, who was inside the nearby Bar On Castro, rushed outside and saw a homeless man, identified only as Dane, jump into the BMW and try to pull the driver out. A half dozen people emerged from the bar and other businesses and tried to help.
"We came out with fire extinguishers to keep the fire away,'' Gamble said. "We didn't realize the gas was flowing down the street. ...Dane got him halfway out, and then we had to come back with more fire extinguishers. We pulled him all the way out and got him into an alleyway.
"You're watching somebody die. Who wants to see somebody die?''
By then, the first fire crews were arriving. An off-duty firefighter tried to revive the man, but the victim died at the scene, said Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.
The driver of the Buick was taken to a hospital. Neither man was identified.
"I can't recall ever seeing anything like this,'' said San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens. "We've had some wild and bizarre things in San Francisco, but I've never heard of anything like this.''
The normally crowded street was largely free of pedestrians, in part because of a charity event, Dine Out for AIDS. Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the area and arrived on the scene later, said it was a fortunate coincidence.
"It's such a tragedy in terms of the loss of life, but it could have been so much worse,'' he said.
Two hours after the crash, the street was littered with charred and mangled cars, with several motorcycles lodged underneath them. The BMW was halfway on the sidewalk with the driver's side smashed and a motorcycle caught under its back wheels. Most of Castro Street between Market and 18th streets was cordoned off and lined with onlookers.