Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS


California House Explodes

Aired August 13, 2002 - 10:16   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to tell about breaking news right now coming out of southern California, out of Torrence, California. I believe we have some live pictures to show you to go along with the story. A house explosion. This is in Torrance. This is the South Bay Area. It happened around 5:45 a.m. California time. This is a street called Tom Lee Avenue (ph).
Clearly, some type of explosion has taken place. We are lucky enough to have our own Tanya Adam. She's very close to the scene, and she's with us on the phone right now.

Tanya, what have you been able to see or find out about what happened?


I'm standing directly across the street from the explosion. They directed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) blocks away, where it's safer. I somehow got through and am standing here. It's still on fire. So about two dozen firemen trying to put it out.

What they're telling me is that it was a gas explosion. I asked them how it obliterated the house, as it has done (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And they told me the reason could possibly be that they're speculating that the gas filled up the entire house, and one of the main reasons is the house was tented -- I don't know if it was termites, but it was tented up, and that could caused a huge explosion in parts of the tent that are now up in the air, hanging from all the telephone wires. It's just a pretty bad scene.

KAGAN: When we look at the time that this happened, Tanya, 5:45 a.m. California time, that would a time of the morning when you would expect families to be at home.

ADAM: Yes.

KAGAN: Do we know of any injuries or any casualties in this explosion?

ADAM: They won't comment on it. A lot of families are out on the streets taking a look at this. As far as I see, it is basically just a lot of blown-out windows, everywhere, for as far as you can see. But they haven't said anything about casualties. I haven't seen any ambulances taking anyone eye way. Of course, I have only gotten here about 15 minutes ago. But it doesn't look too bad for everyone else. It's just pretty messy. KAGAN: Our Tanya Adam on the scene there in Torrance, California. Tanya, good job getting to the scene there. Appreciate it.

Leon, I believe you had someone else to talk to.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we have got someone who is above the scene right now.

Derek Bell, who is flying in the chopper with KCAL, who is also providing these pictures.

Derek, are you there?

DEREK BELL, KCAL HELICOPTER PILOT: Yes, we are. We will give you an update right here. This is the 20,900 block of, as you said, Tom Lee Road, right on the edge of Torrance and Redondo Beach, California. It appears that about 5:45 this morning, an explosion ripped through the area. One house completely demolished. We can count about seven others that were severely damaged directly around the house. About three or four others sustained minor damage.

As you can see, this house was completely leveled. There still is one flame right there in the center of your screen. It looks like a gas flame right around one of the chimney areas.

The Redondo Beach Police Department and Fire Department has completely cordoned off this area and they are putting water, as you can see, onto the debris right now.

We understand also that, as you reported earlier, that this house was tented for fumigation. It was vacant at the time. That's when the explosion occurred. Some people are speculating that there was a natural gas buildup underneath the tent. Something sparked it, and then the explosion occurred.

We understand that the Redondo Beach Fire Department has gotten reports of approximately 10 people all with minor injuries. From our vantage point overhead, we are not seeing anyone being transported or treated on the scene. However, we have seen a triage area set up, just in case anybody who was injured may be moved to that area. But we are not seeing anyone being treated at this time.

So again, at about 5:45 this morning, a house right on the edge of Torrance and Redondo Beach, at the 20,900 block of Tom Lee Avenue, completely exploded. Neighbors say it's possible natural gas explosion underneath a tent, the house being tented for fumigation.

This is Derek Bell, live for CNN and Sky 9. Back to you.

HARRIS: Thanks, Derek.

That's exactly what we were thinking here in the studio watching these pictures. When you see how small the pieces are here, this house was totally obliterated. That was the first thing that popped in our heads, about that whole home filling with gas. Have you been able to take the chopper around and check out the damage to the homes around this particular house?

BELL: As we move the camera around, you can see the house directly to the left there. Sustained major damage. We are going to come around and show you the facade of that house has imploded somewhat. We understand that there are evacuations of the houses that are in the immediate area.

The fire department, of course, is going to go around to those houses and find out if they are structurally sound, to make sure that anybody who might be inside those -- or find out if they are in any danger whatsoever.

But as you see as we come around this side and we pan up, you can see that a couple of facades of the adjoining houses have just been completely pushed in. You can see that that one, clearly, the structure has been compromised. We are seeing a lot of debris inside those homes. That likely would have been one of the houses where one of those injuries, the 10 injuries that Redondo Beach Fire Department has reported, might have occurred.

So you can see the adjacent houses really sustaining some severe damage. And as we said before, about seven of the houses that were right, either directly across the street or directly next door, sustaining the heaviest damage.

HARRIS: Incredible pictures.

Derek Bell from KCAL. Thanks much. Really appreciate that. Incredible pictures that our affiliate there is providing us from this explosion of this home in Torrance, California.

The good news is that apparently there was nobody in the home at the time.




Back to the top