A 79-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition on Friday when the laundry room she was in blew up in an apparent gas explosion, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said.
The blast occurred inside a home in the 4300 block of South Ninth Avenue around 6:15 a.m., said department spokesman David Ortiz.
The explosion was so powerful that it blew out windows on both the first and second floors of the house, Ortiz said.
The woman suffered burns to about 40 percent of her body, including her face, arms and hands, Ortiz said.
Investigators from the Southern California Gas Co., which supplies the area, were on scene Friday. The utility said in a tweet that "no gas leaks (were) found in service line."
Ortiz said it appears that it was an accidental explosion involving malfunctioning equipment or a gas leak, but the fire department's arson unit was called to the scene to verify the cause.
Ortiz said that neighbors told firefighters they had been smelling gas coming from that house for the last two days.
"We thought it was a car, actually, [that] ran into the house, but it wasn't," said neighbor Consuelo Cooper. "It was a gas leak."
In a tweet, the Gas Co. warned people on Friday to call the utility or 911 if the smell of gas is detected.
"If you suspect a natural gas leak, stay calm & evacuate the area. From a #safe location, call 1-800-427-2200 or 911," the tweet stated.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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