House in Flames Following Explosion in Murrieta

MURRIETA (CNS) - A utility worker was killed and another was injured today in a natural gas line explosion that leveled a home in a Murrieta residential neighborhood, Southern California Gas Co. officials reported.

SoCalGas ``crews responded to reports of a natural gas line that was damaged by a contractor working on a home on Wooden Horse Trail in the city of Murrieta. Shortly after crews arrived, there was an explosion,'' according to a statement released about 1:50 p.m. by Christine Detz of SoCalGas.

``Initial reports are that one SoCalGas employee was killed in the incident. Another was transported to the hospital with injuries,'' she said. ``Preliminary information is that one occupant of the home may also be unaccounted for.''

Emergency personnel were called about 12:15 p.m. to the 23500 block of Wooden Horse Trail near Spicewood Avenue and later called for an air ambulance.

One other home was partially damaged on the side facing the burned-out home, but apparently did not catch fire, according to reports from the scene.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise cited a witness account in reporting that a natural gas line was apparently struck while solar panel and landscape workers were working on the home.

Detz said utility crews stopped the flow of gas to the property about 1 p.m.

Murrieta police closed Clinton Keith Road to all traffic from Smith Ranch Road to Nutmeg Street, and said no one would be allowed into the area -- including residents -- for an undetermined period of time for safety reasons.

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