“Kaboom, the house just went up so we knew it was a gas explosion so we immediately ran down here,” said John Kim, who lives down the street from the explosion that leveled home in Murrieta on Monday.
The home was left in ruins and the blast killed 31-year-old Wade Kilpatrick, a SoCalGas employee who was on the scene after a solar contractor working on the home spit a gas line.
“Obviously it’s taking a large toll on our family, we considered ourselves a family and everyone is dealing with a loss of a member of our family,” said Randon Lane, a public information officer with SoCalGas.
John Kim and Robert Reel were down the street before the explosion and saw the firefighters and the gas company.
“It was like somebody dropped an atomic bomb on this street it was crazy,” says Reel.
Fifteen people were hurt in the blast including three firefighters, they immediately started helping the injured.
“Got that guy and the back of his head was ripped open you know probably one of the tiles hit it and I told him just keep breathing and then Robert, he and I picked him up and pulled him up across the street behind the trucks in case there was a secondary explosion,” said Kim.
“It was just like being in a war zone the debris was just phenomenal and there were people just laying around you know just injured and screaming,” said Reel.
The blast left six people homeless, four homes in total are uninhabitable, and 10 homes with broken windows and other damage, the home next door to the leveled home suffered the most damage.
“Their whole front door was blown completely off the hinges and went past them into the back of the house and they walked away without a scratch I don’t know how,” says Reel.
“Tells you just how powerful that explosion was,” adds Kim.
As the investigation continues, one thing they already know is, no one was called out to mark the gas lines before this home improvement, an easy call to 811 and free service.
“There are a lot of emotions a lot of people are experiencing with the gas company, yes there’s anger, there’s frustration, there’s just heartbreak over something that quite frankly could have been prevented,” says Lane.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help the family who lost their home in the explosion. To help click here: Haaland Family