Fresno: A California public works employee and a jail inmate were severely burned when a natural gas line exploded at a sheriff’s gun range near Fresno on Friday which led to sparks and several smaller fires.
Nine other inmates were also taken to nearby hospitals for treatment after the gas line exploded at around 2:30 p.m.
Deputies who witnessed the incident said, “it sounded like a jet engine going off as a result of the gas and the fire”.
The explosion occurred while the public works employee was operating a front-end loader on a road near a berm behind the gun range targets and an inmate work crew was working nearby, Mims said.
An inmate was also seriously injured and was air-lifted to a hospital.
The heat generated from the fire was so great that it melted plastic trash cans lining a building 400 feet from the point of occurrence. “Nearby Highway 99 had to be closed down for an hour”, said Dan Lynch, the Central California emergency medical services director.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, said they were investigating the matter, “Our primary concern is the safety of the public and our employees,” PG&E said in a tweet.