1 dead, 15 hurt in California home gas explosion

1 dead, 15 hurt in California home gas explosion
A firefighter and civilians train fire hoses on a burning home after an explosion and fire destroyed the home in Murrieta, Calif., sending up thick flames and closing several streets. One Southern California Gas Company employee was killed. (Andrew Foulk via AP)

MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) — A natural gas explosion destroyed a Southern California home, killed a gas company worker and injured more than a dozen other people Monday, authorities said.

The explosion shortly after noon sent up a wall of fire and smoke and rocked nearby homes before the gas was shut off and the fire doused more than an hour later.

Photos from the scene showed the home virtually torn apart, with flames burning about 20 feet high.

Firefighters and Southern California Gas Co. workers went to the home after a report that a contractor had damaged a gas line. Firefighters arrived about an hour before the blast, which occurred shortly after noon.

Murrieta Deputy Fire Chief David Lantzer said 15 people were injured, including three firefighters.

Their conditions were not immediately released.

SoCalGas representatives said one gas worker was killed.

The utility initially said one person living in the home might be unaccounted for but Lantzer later said everyone had been accounted for.

Neighbors said the explosion shattered windows throughout the neighborhood.

Kevin McKinney, 63, lives in a home next door that was damaged by the blast. There was "just a huge, huge explosion and then I heard screams and went outside," he told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

McKinney said he found a man lying on the street. The man was taken away in an ambulance.

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