WESTLAKE (CBSLA) – Evacuation orders have been lifted for two apartment buildings after two gas leaks caused an underground explosion in the Westlake district Friday night.
Firefighters responded about 6:15 p.m. to the area 712 S. Westlake Avenue, where flames and smoke were seen coming through a sidewalk, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
An odor of gas prompted the precautionary evacuation of a 42-unit apartment building and later of a second three-story apartment building, this one with 32 units, Humphrey said.
Shaken residents were initially unsure of what had happened.
“He said to him it sounded like somebody threw a bomb from the top because he just heard a big boom and just exploded,” resident Jescenia Rhodes said.
Crews worked through the night surveying the natural gas lines in the area, where they found two leaks on a gas main, Southern California Gas Co. said. The mains were repaired and residual gas trapped underground was extracted.
SoCal Gas was working Saturday to restore natural gas service to affected customers. Service was expected to be restored by the end of the day.
If you suspect a gas leak, officials urge you to evacuate the area immediately and call SoCal Gas at 1-800-427-2200 once you’re at a safe location.