One killed, 15 injured in gas line explosion, fire in Murrieta

Aerial view shows the devastation at the site of a gas line explosion in Murrieta Monday. One person died. Photo credit: KTLA News One ...

Aerial view shows the devastation at the site of a gas line explosion in Murrieta Monday. One person died.
Photo credit: KTLA News

One person was killed and 15 others were injured Monday when a ruptured gas line resulted in an explosion and fire at Murrieta residence, authorities said.

Murrieta Fire and Rescue responded to a report about 11 a.m. of damage to a gas line in the 23500 block of Wooden Horse Trail, according to fire officials. Southern California Gas Company workers also arrived at the scene within minutes, according to David Lantzer, deputy fire chief of Murrieta Fire and Rescue. The explosion occurred about 12:10 p.m. and killed a Gas Company technician, confirmed Cedric Williams, vice president of construction for the Gas Company.

Fifteen others were transported with injuries, including three firefighters from the first arriving engine crew, Lantzer said during an evening news briefing. He told reporters he could not confirm whether the homeowner was among those injured.

According to Williams, a gas line at the residence was damaged by a contractor working on the home. He said he didn't have information on the identity of the contractor, but that the contractor had not called 811 to request that the Gas Company mark gas lines before digging, as is required by law.

"I don't know specifics of what the work being done was," Williams said. "I can confirm that we didn't have an open ticket for 811 for this contractor's work at that location."

Residents in the neighborhood were evacuated while a damage assessment was conducted. Some of those were allowed home by mid-evening. A care center was established at Vista Murrieta High School for those who were displaced.

"Our deepest sympathies are with all those impacted by the Murrieta incident," said Southern California Gas in a prepared statement. "Sadly, we lost one of our technicians today. He will be greatly missed. We urge all contractors and homeowners to call 811 to have utility lines marked prior to digging of any sort."

A portion of Clinton Keith Road, one block north of the accident site, was closed for several hours.



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