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Explosion in South L.A. kills 1, injures 3

The blast tears through a business that a source says stored nitrous oxide cylinders used to power mini-bikes and go-carts.

June 15, 2012|By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
  • A firefighter works at the scene of a Wednesday evening explosion at a business on South Grand Avenue in South Los Angeles.
A firefighter works at the scene of a Wednesday evening explosion at a business… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Authorities continued their investigation Thursday into the cause of an explosion that killed one person and left three others injured in a South Los Angeles building.

The blast tore through a business by a small market in the 2500 block of South Grand Avenue about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said. Four people were injured in the blast — two critically — and one of them later died, they said.

"I heard a very big explosion. I heard girls screaming, 'Help! Help!' " said Ayman Eldeck, who runs the corner store next door.

Eldeck said he ran into the alley his store shares with the business and saw two young women bleeding profusely.

Authorities have not released the names of the person killed or those injured. But neighbors identified the deceased man as the owner of the business. They were unsure of his full name.

The operation had no apparent sign and was tucked behind the market fronting Grand Avenue. A law enforcement source said the business stored nitrous oxide cylinders used to power mini-bikes and go-carts.

Investigators were unsure what caused the explosion but were looking into whether a worker was filling one of the cylinders when it blew up, according to the source. LAFD Deputy Chief Mario Rueda said firefighters found cylinders in the establishment but declined to say what caused the explosion.

The victims were identified as two men and two women. Two were in fair condition, the LAFD said. Rescuers carried out a victim covered in blood who appeared to have severed limbs, a neighbor at the scene said.

The explosion was being investigated by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Los Angeles Police Department detectives and Fire Department arson investigators.

jessica.garrison@latimes.com

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