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Nitrous oxide cylinder may have sparked fatal South L.A. blast

June 13, 2012 |  9:57 pm

One person died in South L.A. explosion
Authorities Wednesday night were investigating whether a nitrous oxide cylinder used to fuel pocket rocket mini-bikes sparked an explosion that left one person dead and three others injured in South Los Angeles.

The blast tore through a business by a small market in the 2500 block of South Grand Avenue. The business stores nitrous oxide cylinders used to power the popular mini-bikes and go carts, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation of the incident.

The site where the blast occurred had no apparent sign and was tucked behind the market fronting Grand Avenue.

Investigators were unsure what caused the explosion but were probing whether a worker was filling one of the cylinders, which blew up about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to the source.

The victims were identified at two adult males and two adult females. Two of them were in fair condition, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Rescuers carried out a victim covered in blood who appeared to have severed limbs, a neighbor at the scene said.

LAFD Deputy Chief Mario Rueda said firefighters found cylinders in the establishment, but he declined to say what caused the explosion. He said the victims were found inside the the building.

The blast was being investigated by Cal-OSHA, Los Angeles Police Department detectives and Fire Department arson investigators.

 

Photo: Firefighters at the South L.A. explosion scene. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times 

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-- Jessica Garrison in South L.A. and Andrew Blankstein and Robert J. Lopez

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