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2 Men Burned When Gas Tank Explodes

November 24, 1998|NICK GREEN

A fireball caused by ignited gasoline fumes burned two men, one seriously, at a muffler shop Monday afternoon, authorities said.

Ed Chamberlin, owner of Muffler Time Exhaust Specialties at 575 S. Dawson Drive, was seriously injured and taken to the burn center at Sherman Oaks Hospital with second- and third-degree burns over 20% of his body, a fractured hand and a fractured leg.

An employee of the shop, Rick Stout, was treated for burns at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and released.

The explosion occurred about 4 p.m. as workers at the shop checked a gas tank they had removed from a car for leaks.

"They went around the tank with a match to see if there were any leaks," said Fred Ponce, a spokesman with the Ventura County Fire Department. "It sounds funny, but I guess it's normal procedure."

The explosion was so intense that drywall was knocked off the interior of the shop and a mezzanine on the adjoining wall of the next-door business broke away from the structure, Ponce said.

The fireball extinguished on its own once the vapors had burned off.

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