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Inspectors red-tag Sylmar building after explosion

August 9, 2011 |  7:52 pm

 

A Sylmar commercial building damaged by an explosion was shut down by inspectors Tuesday evening after they determined it was unsafe for people to enter, fire officials said.

Three employees were injured, two of them critically, in the blast at the one-story structure at 12349 Gladstone Ave.

The explosion tore a hole through the roof, hurled debris onto the street and shattered windows of neighboring businesses, fire officials said.

The building housed an alternative-energy business that extracted hydrogen from water, said Capt. Tina Haro of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

She said officials were investigating whether the extraction process sparked the explosion, which was reported about 4:40 p.m. The exact cause of the blast has not been determined.

Three men were taken to local hospitals. State and county health officials are investigating.

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-- Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)

Video: KTLA-TV report on the explosion.

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