BOOM! Tented house explodes

August 16, 2002

More than 100 homes sustain damage in South Bay community near Los Angeles


Inman News Features

A house being tented for termite fumigation exploded in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Torrance, Calif., a community south of Los Angeles.

The explosion terrified local residents, damaged more than 100 homes in Torrance and neighboring Redondo Beach, Calif., and injured at least 10 people, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Residents said they initially thought the neighborhood was experiencing a terrorist attack, a bomb or an earthquake, but then they stepped outside and saw the damage and fire that resulted from the explosion.

The Torrance Fire Department investigated the explosion in the one-story, three-bedroom house that had been tented to fumigate for termites and determined that the explosion resulted from natural gas that had accumulated inside the tented house, according to the Times.

Forty firefighters from the Torrance and Redondo Beach fire departments responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze, according to a statement from the City of Torrance. Police officers helped the firefighters search the damaged structures for trapped residents and assisted with evacuation of nearby homes.

Ten Torrance residents were injured in the accident and five of them were taken to area hospitals. No one was killed and none of the injuries was deemed to be serious.

The Torrance City Council on Tuesday declared a state of local emergency and appropriated $85,000 to assist with the costs for clean-up and securing the area, including boarding up windows as needed, according to a statement from the city.

Copyright: Inman News Service