Propane Tank ‘Recyclers' Spark House Fire

Two men cutting apart a propane tank ran for their lives after a propane-tank explosion on Monday

The fire broke out shortly before Monday in a two-story building in the 2950 block of Imperial Ave. in the Grant Hill neighborhood of San Diego.

Six engines, a pair of fire trucks and ambulances were sent out to fight the fire, said San Diego Fire/Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque. In all, he believed about 40 people responded to the report.

Officials said the exploding propane tank ignited two cars inside the building's garage, forcing them to flee upstairs, where they were trapped inside the building, as was a third person inside one of the apartments. According to officials, a good Samaritan rescued that woman from the flames, which quickly spread to the structure. That woman was apparently helped out of a window by a passer-by and onto an adjoining roof. Luque said she sustained some minor injuries to her feet from sharp objects on the roof. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

One of the men was able to jump from the second story to safety. That 60-year-old victim was also brought to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries were not life-threatening, according to Luque.

The fire caused extensive damage to the first floor and destroyed the second floor, Luque said.

The other man was able to get out of the building -- he was treated at the scene. No estimate of the financial damage has yet been released by fire officials.

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