Fire crews Thursday afternoon extinguished a blaze ignited by a natural gas explosion at a two-story house in Signal Hill, that injured two people.

Both victims suffered minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital, according to authorities. Both are believed to have been outdoors at the time of the explosion.

The blast happened about 4:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of North Ohio Avenue, near East 21st Street, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

All occupants were already outside of the home when crews arrived.

The homeowner says his split level home will be repaired following Thursday’s blast and fire that gutted the structure and alarmed neighbors who say it sounded like a bomb.

“Wow! It was an explosion! All the binds, everything was out! Glass, garage doors. The fence. People could have got hurt, could have died,” said neighbor Nora Pombeiro.

A 66-year-old woman and her 38-year-old son were slightly hurt when something inside the home sparked an explosion, which the homeowner thinks stems from suspicious petroleum-based smells.

“It’s inconsistent. Sometimes very mild, sometimes before strong. We have to keep open doors and windows to get relief from the bad smell,” explained Lavkamur Barot.

“Once we got on scene there was the smell of gas, residual gas in the area, as well as an adjoining structure,” said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Ron Haralson.

“They’re OK. My brother, I looked at him. He has scratches. Was burned. Eyebrows burned off, his beard burned off,” said Jay Barot, the victims’ brother and son.

City News Service contributed to this report.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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