Explosion Beneath Patrol Car Injures Officer

Monday, January 21, 2008 |

An LAPD Officer was injured when this manhole exploded. Click to view more...On Monday, January 21, 2008 at 2:10 PM, 3 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 28 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper, responded to a Explosion with Injury near 637 East 3rd Street in the Little Tokyo District of downtown Los Angeles.

A uniformed male Los Angeles Police Department Officer in a marked patrol unit was driving on East 3rd Street near Alameda Street when he noticed light smoke coming from a manhole cover in the roadway. The Police Officer called for routine LAFD response, and Firefighters were on scene in less than 5 minutes.

As the LAFD Engine Company arrived, the Officer drove to the Fire Department's location and parked his patrol car to block traffic - and by happenstance, parked atop a distant manhole.

Moments after he exited his patrol car to speak with Firefighters, an explosion occurred within the manhole the Officer had inadvertently parked above.

The forceful explosion - described as thunderous by witnesses, damaged the undercarriage of his Ford Crown Victoria, but there was no fire. The Officer was not struck by any debris, but did complain of back pain, for which he was taken by ambulance to an area hospital in good condition.

Third Street remained closed between Alameda and Central during the late afternoon and evening hours as the Los Angeles Police Department and Department of Water and Power investigated the cause of what appears to be a spontaneous matter within the utility agency's domain.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was probably an illegal discharge to the sanitary sewer.

Chris S

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Chris S,

Thanks for the note. As LAFD crews departed the scene, the incident was being handled by the 'power side' of LA's Department of Water and Power. Though we are categorizing the incident (as a whole) to be electrical in nature, no formal declaration of the cause was made by our agency - and of this date, there is no news release at the LADWP news site.

Thanks for your continued interest in the endeavors of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

m.kahn said...

Brian, Ron, d'Lisa, and Brian B,

Hope you are all well. How unfortunate that the officer parked over a distant manhole and was injured. Glad there were no other injuries.

Stay safe,

Mark
Portland, OR

Anonymous said...

Mea Culpa. I was assuming it was a sanitary or storm sewer involved.


Chris S.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Mark,

Thanks for the kind note. I'm back to a somewhat normal schedule after prolonged illness, and owe a great deal of thanks to Ron, d'Lisa and other LAFD personnel who helped cover those shifts in my absence.

While we generally don't post incidents with exclusive injury to Police Officers, the number and scope of inquiries to our office - combined with rampant speculation, allowed us to affirm the far from diabolical nature of this incident, and that there were no severe or fatal injuries.

We will agree that this was an unfortunate incident.

Please stay safe, be well... and make note of where you stand when there are smoking manholes or arcing wires.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Chris S,

Thanks for the note. There is no need to apologize. The *exact* cause of the incident has not been relayed to our office, and you are correct in noting that many if not most 'explosions' from manholes do involve illicit/improper substances or conditions in sanitary sewers.

I'll try to hook up with DWP's media relations staff when I return to Los Angeles next week, and see if we can share exactly what happened.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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