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No Sign Of Gas Leak In West Hills Explosion

WEST HILLS (CBSLA) – There are no indications that an explosion in a West Hills neighborhood that damaged at least six homes Wednesday afternoon was caused by a natural gas leak, the Southern California Gas Company says.

At around 3 p.m. Wednesday, an explosion occurred in the garage of a home in the 7500 block of Sale Avenue, damaging several nearby homes in the process. Splintered debris was sent flying on several of the surrounding homes and several windows were shattered. Three homes have been red tagged, Los Angeles police disclosed.

"There was this explosion and all four of her windows just got blown right out of the house," neighbor Frank Locastio told KCAL9 Thursday.

There were no serious injuries. Two people were treated at the scene. Next door to the exploded garage, eight children were evacuated from a home that serves as a daycare center.

"The kids were freaking out, the kids were all crying, they were terrified," neighbor Michael Paul said.

SoCalGas and the California Public Utilities Commission spent Thursday combing the scene. SoCalGas spokesperson Melissa Bailey said in an email Thursday morning that after conducting several pipeline tests, crews have been unable to detect any gas leaks in the company's equipment either in the home or the surrounding area.

The cause remains unknown, SoCalGas said. Bailey added that the company is working with Los Angeles Fire to determine a cause.

However, this comes after LAPD Capt. Paul Vernon tweeted Wednesday night that the explosion "was the result" of a natural gas leak. Vernon later tweeted that the explosion was not caused by a drug lab or "illicit activity."

Michael Paul told KCAL9 that immediately following the blast, he ran to the home, but found that the family who rents it were not inside at the time. He said a man who lives there approached the house immediately afterwards and appeared confused.

"He looked kind of confused, he looked concerned, but he had no idea what had happened," Paul said.

Meanwhile, gas service remains shut down to several homes in the neighborhood.

A day care center next to the blast was rattled. The worst injury there, some minor scratches to one of the six kids staying there at the time.

One worker there called it a miracle more people weren't hurt and more seriously.


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