Riverside explosion levels home, damages other homes; no injuries


The blast rocked Cochise Drive near Ivanpah Place shortly after 4 a.m., frightening residents from their beds.

The flames were so fierce, they quickly spread to homes nearby.

Fortunately, no one was injured. The leveled house was believed to be vacant. Neighbors say it has been under construction for some time. Officers quickly evacuated the surrounding homes.

As daylight broke, flames could be seen shooting up from a natural gas line. Southern California Gas Company officials arrived on scene and shut off the main line. Then, firefighters went through the rubble, even recruiting the help of a cadaver dog just in case. No casualties were found.

There was no word on what caused the explosion. Officials say there's no evidence of foul play.

Officers at the scene initially thought it was plane crash because of the extensive damage.

Area resident Wayne Keller was awakened by the explosion. His home sustained severe damage, making it uninhabitable. Keller and his wife were able to escape with their dogs without injury. They said they're thankful they got out alive and their kids are away in college.

"It's unfortunate someone's house blew up, few houses were damaged. But we're also very relieved that no one was injured, and no firefighters were injured," said Capt. Bruce Vanderhorst with the Riverside Fire Department.

Riverside fire and police investigators will continue going through the rubble to determine the exact cause of the explosion. One possible cause could be a natural gas leak, but that has not been confirmed.

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