Caught on Video: Explosion Blasts Roof Off School Gym

Students ran for cover when they heard the blast and felt the ground shake

An explosion, possibly involving a malfunctioning water heater, lifted the roof off a Santa Ana high school gym Tuesday morning and sent students scrambling for cover just before the start of classes.

The explosion occurred at Valley High School, located at 1801 Greenville Street (map). Four students who were seated at tables outside the gym were hospitalized. They complained of headaches, but did not suffer serious injuries, according to authorities.

The gym was not occupied at the time of the blast, but an activities director was in a nearby locker room when the ground shook.

"I heard this loud boom," said John Ferreidas. "I didn't even have time to react. I just left the locker room."

The blast occurred about 30 minutes before the start of classes. Several students can be seen on campus surveillance video running away from the building in a commons area.

Students said the blast felt like an earthquake. Doors were knocked from hinges and the gym roof was separated from the rest of the structure, which will remain closed until it is considered safe to enter.

About 1,800 students attend the school.

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