SYLMAR - A "thunderous explosion" that ripped the roof from a Sylmar business and sent three men to the hospital, remains under investigation by local and State authorities.
A flurry of 9-1-1 calls reporting the explosion commenced at 4:20PM on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, bringing dozens of Los Angeles Fire Department personnel to a normally quiet foothill industrial park at 12349 Gladstone Avenue in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
Arriving quickly, firefighters found missing doors, buckled masonry walls, widely scattered debris and large portions of the roof blown over the parapets of a 50' x 150' section of a 7,400 square-foot one-and-two story building. There was however, no evidence of fire. With paper debris still floating in the air, LAFD crews developed a perimeter for bystander exclusion as they established a command post uphill and upwind of the incident.
Swiftly surveying the scene, firefighters quickly came to the aid of two critically injured men who had apparently been blown from the cinder-block building by the force of the explosion. With early reports of additional victims, an unknown cause - and others who may have been missing, neighborhood firefighters were soon joined by more than one hundred colleagues, including LAFD Hazardous Material and Urban Search & Rescue experts, in a detailed search for the cause and effect of the blast, which was heard and felt over a one-mile area.
The two badly injured men were rushed to trauma centers by LAFD Paramedics, as a methodical examination of the premises found no trapped or missing persons. More than 15 minutes after the search concluded, a man walked up to the command post seeking medical care for unspecified injury from the blast. He was taken in good condition by LAFD ambulance to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
An estimate of monetary loss to the heavily damaged business, described only as an "alternative fuel and green energy firm", was still being tabulated early Wednesday.
Though the enterprise reportedly used pressure vessels and was involved in the "extraction of hydrogen from water", the specific cause of the explosion remains under active investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section and Cal/OSHA officials.
Dispatched Units: E98 RA898 RA98 E91 E275 T75 E24 E287 T87 BC12 E77 T98 E298 RA91 RA7 RA77 RA87 EM15 EM14 EM17 BC15 BC10 UR89 E89 T89 E289 UR88 E88 T88 E288 RA889 DC3 E87 SQ87 AR2 AR23 RA75 E39 EL83 AR3 AR10 BC10 EM15
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department