Santa Fe Springs, CA – An explosion caused by the ignition of leaking gas from a commercial-size propane tank caused the evacuation of 16 houses and left on man injured, firefighters said Monday.
Neighbors reported hearing an explosion about 3 p.m. Sunday on Gard Avenue in a neighborhood near Florence Avenue and Orr and Day Road.
“It sounded like someone landed on the roof, it was such a hard thud,” said Fred Shacklett, who lives on Maidstone Avenue, two blocks east of Gard Avenue.
One male adult occupant received minor burns and was taken to Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, officials said.
“He’s very fortunate his injuries were not more serious,” said Dan Pierro, who was the incident commander for the Santa Fe Springs Department of Fire-Rescue.
About 16 homes were evacuated by the Whittier Police Department, Ortiz said.
The 50-gallon tank was stored under a patio and was leaking over an unknown period of time.
“The gas reached the pilot light from a nearby water heater and created a fireball,” said Janet Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the department.
The propane tank’s lid blew off after the ignition, but the tank itself did not rupture.
The patio and a glass sliding door were damaged in the accident, Pierro said.
Car alarms went off and there was a strong odor of gas, he said.
Three engines, one truck and an ambulance responded to the call, which is normal on a structure-fire call, Ortiz said. No fire safety workers were injured.
Although the fire code doesn’t prohibit residents from using commercial-size propane containers, individuals should be extra careful using them, she said.
“People should periodically check for leaks by checking the cylinder and valve,” Pierro said. “If there is a leak, they should call 9-1-1 to let us handle it.”