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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

7 Injured in Blast at Furniture Plant

November 25, 1998

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Seven workers were injured, one seriously, when a compressor exploded early Tuesday at a furniture manufacturing plant.

Los Angeles fire officials said the compressor blew up about 8 a.m. at Design Pacific Industries in the 1200 block of East 58th Street. The blast sent shrapnel up to 50 feet away, damaged the roof and started a small fire that was extinguished by the building's sprinkler system, officials said.

Herbito Mejia, 22, said he was cutting wood when the compressor began hissing for about two seconds.

"Then-KABOOM!" he said, adding that he dove under his saw table while the one-story factory filled with sawdust. "The sky was red everywhere."

He said most of the factory's estimated 50 employees evacuated the building and were not injured.

Authorities said four people were taken to County-USC Hospital, where a 52-year-old man was listed in serious condition with a fractured right leg, multiple abrasions and a sprained back. The other three--including a 22-year-old man with a broken arm--were in fair to good condition.

Two victims were treated and released from California Medical Center; the seventh man was treated at the scene.

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