A small plane crash in California has left one dead and at least four injured. The San Jose-bound Cessna 310 aircraft crashed into two houses shortly after departing from Riverside Municipal Airport, causing a three-alarm fire, on Monday (27 February).

The pilot was reportedly extricated from the crash site and two other victims were pulled from one of the houses, which caught fire. Fox News reported that it was not clear if the person killed was on board the plane or in the house.

Riverside City Fire Department Captain Tyler Reynolds confirmed that two of the victims were removed from a home next to the one that was hit by the plane.

Helicopter footage shows what appeared to be a person being removed from the home on a stretcher. One of the homes was engulfed in flames and nearly destroyed.

"Firefighters are doing everything they can," Reynolds said. "They're going inside the involved structure. We have it surrounded on all four sides, along with firefighters on the roof cutting holes to get the smoke out of the structure."

Several witnesses said a woman claiming to be the pilot crawled out of the house. A neighbour only identified as Ernesto said he assisted in rescuing the pilot.

"It was a girl, it was a lady," he said. "She was speaking, She said there was three others on the plane...we looked inside and couldn't see anything, the plane was just gone." He added: "She was able to talk, she was able to walk."

Another witness told Fox News that she felt the ground shake and saw plumes of smoke. "I thought it was a possible earthquake, and we heard all the birds just suddenly react outside, too," she said. "Every time an engine sputters, I'm afraid...This was just like a nightmare coming true."

Around 30 residents of nearby homes were evacuated to a nearby community centre.