SYLMAR (CBS) — Authorities are investigating a building explosion in Sylmar that injured three people, two critically, on Tuesday afternoon.

Los Angeles firefighter Timothy Larson, who is on disability, lost his arm and a leg in the blast, which could be heard as far as a mile away.

Larson underwent surgery Tuesday night at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. Another employee suffered critical facial injuries and a third suffered minor injuries.

The blast appears to have taken place as hydrogen was being passed from one vessel to another, according to Cal/OHSA.

This is not the first time Rainbow of Hope has experienced a work-related tragedy. Just last year, Larson’s brother was killed at the company’s Simi Valley warehouse.

Similarly, Tyson Larson was killed with a compressed hydrogen tank exploded. In 2008, another employee was burned.

The owner of the building says he didn’t know employees were working with dangerous materials, and that he was told they were trying to produce safe drinking water for third-world countries.

The alternative-energy business extracts hydrogen from water to make clean-burning fuel, but it’s unclear whether the company had a permit to do the work with explosive materials.

Comments (4)
  1. Harmony Lee says:

    I live in Sylmar at Foothill & Astoria (the 13700 block area) & I felt the explosion. I was sitting on my sofa in the living room & I thought we had a tiny earthquake. You know how us CA’s are, we don’t move unless it’s a 5 or better….then I saw your coverage & realized what I felt was the explosion.. We just came back from our favorite pet store, Pet Supreme & they said their building really shock a lot. They are at Arroyo between Foothill & Glenoaks. We set our milage on the way home tonight & we are 2 miles from the explosion. We heard it reported that it was felt a mile away, but that is wrong, it was felt much farther then that here in Sylmar.

  2. Michael J. McDermott says:

    Whoe, fiberglass, ya know, fiberglass.
    Yeah, I heard it. I heard it at Maclay and Gladstone. I can’t say I felt it but I heard it real loud and clear.
    I said to myself “whatever it was I’ll find out on the news tonight. I found out alright.

  3. Michael J. McDermott says:

    Oh, they’re saying he was a firefighter out on disability. Maybe mental disability? Could be.

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