MURRIETA (CBSLA) — A residential neighborhood in Murrieta is still in shock after a Monday afternoon gas explosion leveled one home and killed a Southern California Gas Co. technician.
Neighbors on the normally quiet street flocked to the corner Tuesday to watch as work crews boarded up blown out garage doors and windows of homes damaged by the explosion. But the family who owned the home and the girlfriend of the 11-year veteran of SoCalGas who died in the explosion are still grieving.
Wade Kilpatrick, 31, was described by girlfriend Kelsey Seale as an amazing and genuine person.
“We are all so devastated,” Seale said. “He touched the hearts of so many, and so many people loved him. My heart is in pieces.”
His family said they wanted to emphasize that Kilpatrick died because of a decision made by a contractor working on the home. According to SoCalGas, the contractor failed to call 811 to check for gas lines prior to digging on the property and ruptured the line. The explosion happened when SoCalGas technicians were working to repair the line.
“The only reason I lost the love of my life is because the rules were not followed,” Seale said.
As for the family who owns the home, they are still shaken, but happy to be safe.
The Haaland family recently purchased the home and were working to complete some renovation work. Alexis Haaland was in the home with her two small children when the gas line was ruptured, according to her mother Prasha Crone. Crone, Haaland and the children left the home but returned to get clothing. Crone said Haaland was inside the home when it exploded.
“I just got out of the car screaming, because I knew my daughter was in there,” she said.
Haaland was able to get out of the home safe.
The contractor, Horizon Solar Power, released a written statement saying that the company is working with authorities and collecting facts to better understand what happened.
“Our primary thoughts are with the people who were injured and their families, including with the family of the person who lost his life.”
The investigation into the explosion is ongoing.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for the Haaland family.