Watch CBS News

West Sacramento apartment explosion leaves displaced residents lives' "in shambles"

Displaced residents deal with fallout after West Sacramento apartment explosion
Displaced residents deal with fallout after West Sacramento apartment explosion 03:43

WEST SACRAMENTO — Dozens of people were still displaced after an explosion at a West Sacramento apartment complex over the weekend.

No one was seriously hurt when the blast went off around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Washington Courtyard affordable housing complex on 7th Street.

"My son—the pictures fell off the wall—called me startled, 'Dad, we're being bombed,' " said Kenneth Garcia, who lives in the complex. 

He told us people living there are afraid this could happen again and of where to go from here.

A fence now surrounds the damaged building that has been boarded up. It will likely need to be demolished before any of the 34 residents can move back in.

"There was glass frames all the way shot out to the park," Garcia said. "Big balls of fire shot out."

Fire crews in the aftermath of the explosion. CBS13

Garcia was riding by in his electric scooter with his friend just five minutes before the explosion, he said, would have sent them into the debris.

"See the flames shot right out there," Garcia said. "We would have been in direct line with it."

The impact from the blast even broke windows at Garcia's building across from where the explosion happened.

"I look at it that it's God's hands that the flames didn't shoot that way and impact the other building and kids playing and lots of families," Garcia said.

Always with Integrity, or AWI, management oversees the property. It said twelve households were impacted and four are now staying at different apartment complexes within the company and are receiving rent credits.

"There's not many options being this is low-income apartments. People don't have the money to go move to another house, stay in a hotel, or you're limited in what you can do," Garcia said.

The property management said that the priority right now is to house the residents and then work on repairs.

"The explosion started with a thunderous boom that shattered our windows and blew the door frame apart," said Laryssa Dykes, whose 12-year-old daughter and husband were home when the blast happened. "Then the roof of the living room crashed as insulation and sheetrock buried my family."

Dykes said that after getting out of the rubble and grabbing their child and pet, they ran for safety with just the clothes on their backs.

"Aside from my daughter's physical and mental damages, my husband is left with crush injuries and a slipped disc while we had to all separate to have places to sleep," Dykes said.

Dykes told CBS13 that family and friends have been supportive including the Washington Unified School District, where her daughter is a student.

"With no timeline of when we can return home altogether as a family, our lives are in shambles and our children are traumatized," Dykes said.

Dykes said the property management plans to contact her tomorrow regarding a unit they are preparing for her family. She is trying to avoid staying in motel rooms.

The explosion happened in a vacant apartment unit that was undergoing renovations.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but multiple people living there believe there was a gas leak inside the empty unit.

"My understanding is they do take out the stoves and everything so, of course, the stove is gas lines," Garcia said.

CBS13 asked AWI Management if it received any reports of residents smelling gas before the blast. AWI said no.

Code enforcement confirmed there had been no calls or cases at the complex in more than five years.

"Some people had to be dragged out of their apartments. It was pretty traumatic," Garcia said. "Thank God lives were not lost here."

There is no timeline for how long it will take to repair the building. Investigators said it could be several days before they determine the cause of the explosion.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.