SoCalGas Worker Killed in Gas Line Explosion, 15 Others Injured

MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) — 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.

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.

Authorities say the contractor did not call Southern California Gas to determine where gas lines were buried and struck and damaged a line.

The explosion 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.

Representatives for SoCalGas said one gas worker was killed in the blast.

Murrieta Deputy Fire Chief David Lantzer said 15 others were injured including three firefighters. Their conditions were not immediately released.

The utility initially said one person living in the home might be unaccounted for but Lantzer later said everyone had been accounted 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.

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