1 dead, 1 injured after explosion at Thousand Oaks elementary school

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
1 dead, 1 injured after explosion at Thousand Oaks elementary school
One person was killed and another injured after a hobby rocket explosion at Madrona Elementary School in Thousand Oaks.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- One person was killed and another injured after an explosion in Thousand Oaks on Monday, according to Ventura County fire officials.

Authorities said a hobby rocket exploded at about 7:35 p.m. on the basketball courts at Madrona Elementary School near Lynn Road and Camino Manzanas.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department said an 18-year-old man was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries.

A 17-year-old male was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, deputies said.

The victims were making rockets when a propane cylinder they were using exploded, according to fire officials. A nurse at the scene was able to start treatment immediately while EMS crews headed to the school.

A meeting was being held at the school for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts at the time of the explosion.

"Nobody could really discern what it really was because it was a huge explosion, but it was just all at once. Just a 'boom!' That was it," Tammy Coburn, who was in the meeting, explained.

A Girl Scout leader who was a former military member recognized the sound and went to investigate what happened.

"He quietly stepped out of the meeting, closed the door and went out," Coburn said. "He's the one that came upon the boys and then got the emergency help from a Girl Scout nurse."

ABC7 has learned the victims were seniors at Thousand Oaks High School and honor students.

"They're AP and honor students. Amazing, brilliant kids. That's why it's like, 'How could this have happened to them?' Because they're brilliant. They would've thought everything out. They would have put this all together the right way. So this was just a horrible, tragic accident," Coburn said.

The identities of the injured were not immediately released. Ventura County sheriff's officials were investigating the incident.

Because of the investigation, Madrona Elementary School was set to be closed on Tuesday. As a precaution, bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in to sweep the school campus.