Authorities Investigating Natural Gas Explosion at Hollywood Restaurant

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - Authorities today investigated the cause of a gas explosion that rocked a closed restaurant in the heart of the Hollywood tourist zone.

No one was seriously injured in the blast, which was reported at 7:31 p.m. Wednesday in the 1700 block of Highland Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard and sent glass from blown out windows onto the sidewalk and street.

One person was evaluated for possible injuries at the scene, but that person chose to leave the scene without being transported to a hospital, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

``The one patient initially assessed on scene was believed to have been a bystander lacking adequate footwear, resulting in some minor abrasions,'' Stewart said.

The restaurant, identified as Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill, remained yellow tagged, which means there would be limited access to the affected area of the business, but it would require a comprehensive safety inspection before being allowed to reopen for business, the LAFD reported.

The floor above the restaurant was evacuated as a precaution and residents on higher floors were told to shelter in place, Stewart said.

The evacuees were allowed back into their apartments about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, the LAFD reported.

Hazardous materials and urban search and rescue crews were dispatched to the scene of the seven-story building, Stewart said.

The gas was turned off and readings were taken as crews searched all residential floors to ensure no one remained in a hazardous environment, Stewart said.

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