LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Firefighters say two people were injured after a 9000-gallon gas tanker leaked and then exploded Sunday morning.
Residents said they thought LA was experiencing an earthquake after their homes shook.READ MORE: Sheriff Villanueva Blasts County Board Of Supervisors, DA George Gascón During 'Year In Review' Press Conference
The explosion resulted in a large fire in the Vermont-Florence district of Los Angeles and caused scores of people to run for cover.
The incident unfolded in the 200 block of W. Slauson Avenue in Florence, an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, around 7:45 a.m. and resulted in damage to two buildings.
Gas from the leak ran into storm drains and the explosion blew manhole covers into the sky. The covers were blown out with so much force that when one landed, it split in half.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold reported from the scene. She spoke to witnesses who said they heard a loud boom and then saw a large plume of black smoke.
“There were like these big booms,” said Desjon Smith, “And I was like, and it wasn’t normal. The smoke was super black. Fire was coming towards our house. It was just real overwhelming.”
Homeowners who live next door to the tanker reportedly called authorities after smelling gasoline.READ MORE: Fashion Legend Andre Leon Talley Dies At 73
Markee Salone tried to escape from the front of his home. But the flames were too large. He and his children escaped out the back.
“Maybe about five or six different small explosions,” Salone says, “And the fire just got real intense. I tried to alert the neighbors.”
The explosion was felt for several blocks. Some said it felt like an earthquake.
Some residents told Weingold they were jolted out of bed and fled with only the clothes they were wearing.
Firefighters said that of the two people who were injured, only one suffered serious burns.
Many residents questioned why a 9,000-gallon tanker filled with gasoline was sitting close to their homes.MORE NEWS: COVID Positivity Rate Drops Among Students And Staff
The Red Cross was on hand to help residents who may have been displaced by the explosion.