Gas Company Worker Dead, 15 People Hurt After Explosion Destroys Southern California Home

California Connection
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(KTLA) — A Southern California Gas Company worker was killed and 15 people were injured when an apparent gas line explosion destroyed a Southern California home on Monday.

FOX40 sister station KTLA reports firefighters were dispatched to a reported gas line rupture on Wooden Horse Trail in Murrieta shortly before 11 a.m., according to Murrieta Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief David Lantzer.

They discovered a gas line leak and SoCalGas was called to the scene, Lantzer said. Crews arrived just after 11:20 a.m.

The explosion occurred about 50 minutes after they arrived, killing one of the workers who responded.

“We are incredibly saddened that we had a loss of one our employees today at this incident,” Randon Lane, a spokesman for the utility, said at an afternoon news conference.

The employee has not yet been identified pending notification of the victim’s family.

Fifteen people were also injured and are being medically evaluated, according to Lantzer. He did not provide information on their conditions nor did he say how many were transported to local hospitals.

Preliminary information released earlier indicated one other worker was injured and a resident was possibly missing before officials provided an update on the incident at a 3 p.m. briefing.

The residents had just moved into the house a week or two ago, according to a neighbor.

“It’s heartbreaking,” the woman said. “For this to happen, it’s atrocious.”

The home, located at the corner of Wooden Horse Trail and Spinning Wheel Drive, was leveled in the blast, reduced to piles of charred rubble. The roof was destroyed, as were nearly all of the walls, KTLA’s Sky5 video over the scene showed. Debris littered the front yard and the street, and some nearby homes also appeared to have been damaged.

Firefighters douse water over the charred wreckage for at least two hours before the flames were fully extinguished.

One resident told KTLA the explosion caused shaking in the neighborhood, which she initially mistook as an earthquake.

“It was like a really big jolt, and I thought it was an earthquake because of all the earthquakes we’ve been having,” she said, alluding to the recent two large temblors and thousands of aftershocks centered near Ridgecrest that were widely felt around the Southland.

Clinton Keith Road has been shut down between Smith Ranch Road and Nutmeg Street indefinitely due to “public safety,” according to the Murrieta Police Department. Residents will not be allowed into the area during the closure.

The incident is under investigation, and no additional information has been released.

This story is developing.


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