VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A pre-dawn explosion and fire leveled a home, injuring one person inside, and damaged at least two other homes Wednesday in Southern California, authorities said.
The blast occurred shortly before 3 a.m. in the San Bernardino County desert community of Victorville, about an hour’s drive northeast of Los Angeles. The cause of the blast was under investigation.
Brenda Ogaz said she was awake when she heard an explosion and then a second one.
“I looked out my window and the whole house was engulfed and there were what looked like fireworks coming out," she told the Victor Valley News Group. “We all rushed out to try and help but there was nothing we could do."
Joshlyn Brunt said the force of the blast threw her neighbor into her backyard.
“I heard her screaming, ‘Help me, call the police,’ and she was on my back porch,” Brunt told KCBS-TV. She said she and her children were ordered out of the house because of leaking gas.
A 40-year-old woman in the home was hospitalized for burns, authorities said. She was in critical but stable condition, according to the county Sheriff’s Department.
Neighbors told KCBS-TV that the family that lived in the home breeds dogs. An injured dog was taken away by animal control officers.
At least two damaged homes were red-tagged because they were considered unsafe for people to stay there, firefighters said.
Neighbors told KCBS-TV that the gas company had been in the area about two weeks ago.
In a statement, Southwest Gas said it checked the neighborhood of the explosion and didn't find any gas leaks. The company also said a contractor made a routine inspection in the area last month and didn't find any gas leaks at that time.