LAFD: Firefighters may have sparked gas explosion

An investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department determined that sparks from a firefighter’s saw may have ignited gasoline vapors, causing the fire


By FireRescue1 Staff

LOS ANGELES — Fire officials believe sparks from a firefighter’s saw may have ignited leaking gasoline vapors that set off explosions in storm drains and injured two people.

NBC Los Angeles reported that an investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section determined that sparks from responding firefighters ignited a fire that injured two people and displaced a family.

An investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section determined that sparks from responding firefighters ignited a fire that injured two people and displaced a family. (Photo/Los Angeles Fire Department Facebook)
An investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section determined that sparks from responding firefighters ignited a fire that injured two people and displaced a family. (Photo/Los Angeles Fire Department Facebook)

Firefighters were called to a private storage lot due to the smell of gas. The gasoline smell appeared to be coming from inside the locked storage area.

When firefighters attempted to gain entry to investigate further by using a saw to cut through the lock, the source of the smell – a fuel tanker ­– exploded.

“It was determined that during the attempt to gain access to the locked facility, sparks from a firefighter’s rotary saw may have caused fuel vapors to ignite,” LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said.

The explosion caused fumes in the storm drain to ignite and create underground pressure. A two-story single-family home was damaged.

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the presence of a fuel tanker on the private property is ongoing and under the jurisdiction of the city’s Watershed Protection Division and the Environmental Protection Agency,” Sanders said. “The LAFD is conducting a detailed After-Action Review of this incident to identify lessons learned.”

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