1 dead, 3 hurt in blast south of downtown LA

Associated Press Modified: June 14, 2012 at 12:45 am •  Published: June 14, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A gas tank exploded in an industrial area south of downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, killing one person and injuring three others, authorities said. Investigators were trying to determine what was going on at the site.

The gas cylinder exploded in a building tucked behind a meat market and a bakery at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Mario Rueda, deputy captain of the LA fire department.

One person died after being taken from the scene, said Police Capt. William Hayes. The three others were taken to hospitals, one of them in critical condition and two in fair condition.

Rueda said he could not say what kind of business it was or what type of gas was in the tank, and said both pieces of information were the subject of their joint investigation with police.

There were initial indications of a blast at the meat market, but officials later explained it occurred nearby.

Bermis Meat Market manager Ayman Eldik says moments after the loud blast, two women pounded on the backdoor of his business, located off a shared alleyway with the other business, which doesn't have a storefront or signage.

"They were covered in blood," said Eldik, gesturing up and down his torso.

One woman had severe foot injuries and Eldik said he grabbed bags of ice to help her and had a coworker call 911.

Eldik described the business as "cars, body parts, something" with a shrug, saying he didn't pry and wasn't sure.

A large delivery of the cylinders had arrived at the business around noon Wednesday, blocking part of his driveway, Eldik said.

The blast was in a largely vacant industrial zone about a mile northeast of the University of Southern California campus.