SoCalGas worker killed in house explosion in Murrieta

An investigation is underway in Murrieta after a home caught fire and exploded Monday afternoon killing one person and injuring 15 others.

The explosion was a result of a gas line rupture, officials said. A SoCalGas spokeswoman said crews responded to reports of a natural gas line that was damaged by a contractor working on a home in the 23500 block of Wooden Horse Trail.

SoCalGas officials say the contractor did not call 811, a phone number to notify utility companies about projects that involve digging so that the utility companies can safely mark all buried lines, before him and his team began digging.

But soon after crews arrived, an explosion occurred killing one SoCalGas employee and injuring another who was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment, the SoCalGas spokeswoman said. 14 others were hurt in the incident including three firefighters, investigators said.

Video taken from the scene shows plumes of heavy smoke in the area.

Preliminary information has one occupant of the home unaccounted for, according to officials. SoCalGas crews stopped the flow of gas to the property at about 1 p.m.

Firefighters and police officers were dispatched to the home just before 12:15 p.m. Clinton Keith Road from Nutmeg to Carrington was closed for the investigation and as Murrieta Fire and Rescue work on a plan to repopulate the area once damage assessments were completed.

Clinton Keith Road reopened as of 8:07 p.m. but Wooden Horse Trail and Spinning Wheel Drive remained closed. It's unknown when they will reopen.


The explosion caught residents by surprise.

Neighbors like Pam Keltelboeter couldn't believe the noise coming from across the street from her. Flames shooting up into the air by as much as 15 feet, according to witnesses.

Kevin McKinney had serious damage from the explosion, but he was lucky. Though windows shattered and doors got stuck in their frames, what happened to his house wasn't as bad as what happened to his neighbors. Their house was decimated.

Jessica Molstad who lives nearby told FOX 11 that, at first, she thought the blast was an earthquake given the shakiness we've seen lately.

Many of them had to leave their homes.

An evacuation center has been set up at Vista Murrieta High School at 29251 Clinton Keith Road for residents that were evacuated and displaced due to the explosion.

The identification of the worker that was killed has not yet been released. The investigation is ongoing.