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Yorba Linda Quake Sparks House Explosion in Ontario: City Officials

The natural gas explosion occurred nearly 30 miles away from the earthquake's epicenter

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Experts say a series of minor earthquakes near Yorba Linda was a normal swarm, but Ontario fire officials saw something unique in the aftermath of the temblors. One of the quakes shifted items in an Ontario garage, opened a gas valve and was ignited by a water heater, investigators say. Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    One of several earthquakes that struck the Yorba Linda area Wednesday is being blamed for a natural gas explosion at an Ontario home nearly 30 miles away from the quake’s epicenter, officials said.

    Investigators were not sure which Wednesday morning temblor caused items in the garage to fall over and open a gas valve in the two-story house located in the 400 block of West Carlton Street, said Jacob Green, spokesman for the City of Ontario.

    The garage filled with natural gas and, ignited by a water heater, exploded, blowing out windows from the home and a neighboring structure, Green said. The garage door was found in a neighbor’s backyard.

    The explosion caused about $200,000 in damage, officials said.

    Neighbor Jerry Witt said he was amazed by the sequence of events, but thankful no one was seriously injured.

    "It was just crazy to see what could happen," Witt said.

    More than 10 quakes were reported on Wednesday in the Yorba Linda area, which was struck by a magnitude-4.4 jolt the night before. The largest quake, a magnitude 4.5, was reported at about 9:33 a.m. Wednesday.

    "This is a very unique incident that a minor earthquake would cause this kind of explosion," Green told NBC4.

    A man in his 70s was treated on the scene by paramedics and transported to the hospital, Green said. His condition was not known Wednesday night.

    Firefighters responded to a report of an explosion at about 11:41 a.m. Wednesday to find a small fire coming from the home, officials said. Nineteen firefighters with one truck company and three engine companies extinguished the blaze by 11:49 a.m.

    Officials stressed that residents should ensure all items in their home and garage – including water heaters – are secure, and should call 911 or their local gas company if they smell a leak.

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