2 Injured in La Jolla High-Rise Fire

The fire sparked after an explosion in the building's electrical room, injuring two electricians working at the panel

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two electricians were injured in an explosion and electrical fire at a residential high-rise building in La Jolla. NBC 7's Chris Chan speaks with residents who were asked to evacuate while fire crews tackled the blaze. (Published Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013)

    Two people were injured when an electrical fire broke out at a residential high-rise building in La Jolla Tuesday.

    San Diego Fire-Rescue officials say the blaze began around 11:30 a.m. on the first floor electrical room of a 20-story residential building located at 939 Coast Blvd., directly across the street from the shoreline.

    Fire officials say two electricians from a company called Global Power Group were working in the electrical room when, for unknown reasons, the electrical panel exploded, causing a fire.

    One of the workers was severely burned in the explosion and subsequent electrical fire, possibly with life-threatening injuries, officials said. The second man sustained minor burns on his body. Both men were transported to the hospital.

    A total of 15 fire engines and six other emergency vehicles responded to the scene. Approximately 100 firefighters were on hand to help, given the size of the building.

    The building – which houses about 200 residents – was evacuated as crews worked to contain the blaze. By 12:07 p.m., firefighters had knocked down the fire using a dry chemical.

    Officials say about 130 people were inside the high-rise at the time of the fire.

    One resident, who lives on the 14th floor, told NBC 7 that she walked down 14 flights of stairs to evacuate the building.

    “It was pretty difficult getting down the stairs,” she said.

    Another resident said the fire and evacuations happened quickly, creating a bit of panic among residents.

    "They screamed, 'Everybody evacuate! Don't use the elevators,'" she recalled.

    Fire officials say the electrical fire caused some smoke and damages, but the structure of the building was not affected.

    After the blaze was knocked out, crews remained on scene checking for any extension of the fire. Officials from San Diego Gas & Electric were also called to the building.

    No additional injuries were reported.

    On Wednesday, a spokesperson from Global Power Group told NBC 7 that the injured electricians were recovering. The man who sustained the most serious injuries is being treated at UCSD Medical Center, while the second victim has been treated and released from the hospital, the spokesperson said.

    Meanwhile, fire officials told NBC 7 that the investigation into the exploding transformer is now complete. They've ruled teh cause of the explosion and fire accidental. OSHA is now investigating the incident.

     


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