Thursday, December 25, 2008

1 dead, 6 injured - Home explosion - Gas leak

Man Dies From Injuries In Rancho Cordova Explosion
Five Others Injured In the Massive Blast
1 dead, 4 People In Critical Condition


Wilbert "Bill" Paana, who officials say was in his early 70s, died from injuries sustained in the massive blast. Earlier reports said he suffered a severe abdominal wound.

Paana and two of his family members were transported to the University of California, Davis medical complex in critical condition after the explosion, according to hospital spokeswoman Phyllis Brown. The other two family members injured in the blast have been identified as Kim Dickson, a woman in her mid-40s, and 17-year-old Sunny Dickson.

Charred remnants were all that remained of the house near on Paiute Way, which sat at the end of a cul-de-sac beside a busy highway. Debris littered the street after house was destroyed by a fireball witnesses said climbed four stories high.

Homes on either side of the leveled home also were damaged.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Christian Pebbles said officials believe the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak, prompting them to briefly evacuate 30 to 40 nearby homes.

"One house is completely destroyed, just devastated. Both the other ones have major, major damage," Pebbles said.

John Turner, who lives in a duplex about two blocks from the leveled home, said he heard "a big boom" shortly after 1:30 p.m.

"It sounded like something had fallen on my roof," he said in a telephone interview. "I saw flames about as high as the house next door ... the smoke was billowing from that area."

Turner said he saw two PG&E trucks near the explosion site when he walked out of his house.

Neighbors told CBS station KOVR-TV in Sacramento that they had reported the gas leak to PG&E Tuesday night, but spokesman Brian Swanson said they had not confirmed that anyone had called before Wednesday morning, when crews began investigating the leak.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. crews had been called to the street earlier in the day after someone reported smelling gas and were on scene when the home exploded.

A utility worker who was standing in the street at the time of the blast was injured and hospitalized with slight burns to the hand and cuts to the head, Swanson said.

Another utility worker had been in the neighborhood all morning investigating the report of a natural gas smell, he said. She was replaced in the afternoon by the employee who was injured.

A firefighter was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center after suffering from smoke inhalation and has been released.

Sources: CBS2 - Link,
More photos: at CBS 2 - Link


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