House explosion blamed on natural gas
TORRANCE, California (CNN) -- An early morning explosion Tuesday that injured 10 people in suburban Los Angeles was the result of a buildup of natural gas in a house being fumigated for termites, fire officials said.
After an investigation, the Torrance Fire Department determined the gas explosion was likely triggered by fans or motors in the one-story, three-bedroom home, which was obliterated by the blast at 5:45 a.m. (8:45 a.m. EDT). No accelerants or explosives were found, according to a fire department statement.
The home was vacant at the time and had been covered with tents for fumigation. The explosion damaged more than 80 other homes, officials said.
"Somehow, there was an accumulation of natural gas in the house," said Dennis Hansen, a Torrance Fire Department operations specialist.
"The chemical used for fumigation is not explosive or flammable," he said. "When (the house) is tented, it's completely sealed. The speculation is that a natural gas leak caught an ignition source and blew."
In all, at least 39 houses in Torrance and another 41 in neighboring Redondo Beach were damaged. Ten residents received minor injuries, with five transported to area hospitals in good condition, according to the fire department.
The company fumigating the house had turned off the natural gas line at the meter, according to the fire department. Witnesses who reported smelling gas and hearing hissing before the explosion are being interviewed.
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