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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Ex-Tenant Arrested in Apartment Blast

November 19, 1998

ALHAMBRA — A 20-year-old San Gabriel man has been charged with intentionally igniting a natural gas explosion that destroyed an Alhambra apartment building and injured five people Sunday, sheriff's officials said.

Kermit J. Kyle, 20, was arrested Tuesday night and was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail, said Sheriff's Deputy Cruz Solis. Residents said Kyle and his family had recently been evicted from their apartment and had harassed their neighbors and threatened to blow up the building.

"I didn't take him seriously," said tenant Chris Poe, adding that other neighbors saw him entering his vacant apartment just before the blast.

Authorities said they found no explosives but that the gas in Kyle's apartment, where the blast occurred, may have been deliberately left on.

The explosion reduced parts of the building to splinters, blew the roof onto the building next door and shattered windows all along the street.

Two apartment residents were hospitalized, including a 33-year-old man who suffered second-degree burns on his back. All other injuries were minor.

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