MURRIETA, Calif. — A natural gas explosion destroyed a Southern California home, killed a gas company worker and injured more than a dozen other people Monday, authorities said.
The explosion shortly after noon sent up a wall of fire and smoke and rocked nearby homes before the gas was shut off and the fire doused more than an hour later.
Photos from the scene showed the home virtually torn apart, with flames burning about 20 feet high.
Firefighters and Southern California Gas Co. workers went to the home after a report that a contractor had damaged a gas line. Firefighters arrived about an hour before the blast, which occurred shortly after noon.
Murrieta Deputy Fire Chief David Lantzer said 15 people were injured, but he had no information about their injuries. He also couldn’t confirm that anyone had died.
However, SoCalGas representatives said one gas worker was killed, a second was taken to the hospital and one person living in the home may be unaccounted for.
Neighbors said the explosion shattered windows throughout the neighborhood.
Kevin McKinney, 63, lives in a home next door that was damaged by the blast. There was “just a huge, huge explosion and then I heard screams and went outside,” he told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
McKinney said he found a man lying on the street. The man was taken away in an ambulance.