Fiery Explosion Triggers Lockdown at School in Fullerton; No Injuries Reported

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A loud and fiery explosion in a neighborhood in Fullerton triggered a lockdown at a nearby school Friday afternoon but authorities still don't know what caused the explosion.

Police officers and firefighters responded to reports of a home on fire and possible explosion in the 700 block of Carhart Avenue, police said just after 1:30 p.m.  That emergency response caused a lockdown at Fern Drive Elementary School, a nearby K-5th grade elementary school. By 3 p.m., authorities said the lockdown had been lifted.

The cause of the explosion is not known as authorities continue to investigate. No injuries were reported but two people who live in the area were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation-related injuries, officials said.

It happened at a unit inside an apartment complex, where about 70 firefighters responded to the scene after alarmed neighbors tried putting out the flames.

One man who lives there told KTLA he came outside after smelling smoke. That's when he realized there was a fire behind one of his neighbors' homes.

"I ran outside, I have a little garden hose that I water out there with and I started spraying over the fence," he said.

Then about 20 to 30 seconds later, he said, he heard a loud explosion.

The force of it "hit me back a little bit and shrapnel flew next to me," he said. "Luckily, I was spraying over the fence so it didn't hit me. And I was like, 'Well, I don't know what I'm getting myself into.'"

He said another neighbor of his then rushed over with a fire extinguisher. Photos and video of the scene shows clouds of smoke emanating from the home, with some flames rising from the roof of one unit.

But the fire didn't extend to other units at the apartment complex, with only some smoke traveling through, according to Chief Kathy Schaefer of the Fullerton and Brea Fire Departments. Some water and smoke damage were also visible at some other units,

Just as police officials announced the lockdown at Fern Drive Elementary just before 1:30, they also said people at the school did not appear to be in any immediate danger.

Police have told motorists to use alternate routes as traffic in the immediate area as traffic had become congested.

Authorities have not released other details about the incident.




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