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Blast destroys Los Angeles welding shop; 1 dead

By Alan Duke, CNN
  • NEW: LAFD lowered the death toll from 2 to 1
  • The 2nd victim is critically burned, but alive
  • Firefighters dodged falling debris to rescue victims
  • The welding shop used natural gas, oxygen and acetylene

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- An explosion at a welding shop in south Los Angeles killed one man and critically injured another person Friday morning, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The injured person suffered severe burns and was taken to an intensive care unit, said department spokesman Erik Scott. The fire department previously had reported two deaths.

Firefighters dodged debris falling around them to rescue the victims, Scott said.

It was not immediately known what caused the devastating blast, which blew out a wall and collapsed the roof, Scott said.

The shop stored natural gas, oxygen and acetylene for the welding operations, he said.

The explosion was powerful enough to hurl people near the building across a street where they were pinned under the axle of a vehicle, he said.