L.A. County firefighter killed in explosion in the Antelope Valley

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

One Los Angeles County firefighter was killed and another injured Friday in an explosion that ripped through an Antelope Valley quarry as fire crews responded to a burning front loader, officials said.

Authorities have not released the names of the firefighters or said what caused the explosion, which occurred in the early afternoon in the 6500 block of East Avenue T in the Palmdale area.

Speaking to reporters Friday evening, county fire Chief Anthony Marrone said that the firefighters were battling flames that had engulfed “a very, very large articulated front loader that was working in a quarry” when the blast occurred.

“And I don’t know what exploded,” Marrone said during a news conference at Antelope Valley Medical Center.

Marrone said the department would release the name of the firefighter who was killed later Friday after contacting his relatives. He described him as a 19-year department veteran who most recently had been assigned to a four-member fire engine at Station 93 in Palmdale.

“A wonderful man. He was married. He was a father. It’s just such, such a tragedy,” Marrone said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Mark Reyes said the agency’s homicide bureau and arson unit had started a death investigation, but that it was too early to say what caused the explosion.

Hours after the blast, a KTLA-TV Channel 5 helicopter showed firefighters continuing to spray water on the front loader.

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger offered her condolences to the firefighter’s family and colleagues, saying his death was “a sobering reminder of the dangers our first responders face every day.”

“We owe them our steadfast support as they grapple with this loss,” she said in a statement. “I’m committed to ensuring our fire personnel are connected with needed mental health support as they grieve.”

She said that another firefighter was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but is expected to be released Friday evening.

Earlier this year, nine L.A. city firefighters were injured when a tank of compressed natural gas exploded while they were working to extinguish a semitruck fire.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.