Updated and corrected throughout at 3:13 p.m.
City fire officials said Friday afternoon that they were mistaken in reporting that two workers died following an exposition at a South Los Angeles welding business. One of the victims, who was burned in the explosion, survived and was said to be in critical condition.
That worker was blown from the building, which was apparently destroyed, and found underneath a nearby parked car, according to KNX 1070 Newsradio. The other, who died, was apparently electrocuted when he fled the building and tried to move a vehicle only to come into contact with a downed power line, according to the station.
A fire official told the station that it was possible the gas meter at the building in the 936 E block of East 59th Street had been tampered with as a way to avoid paying the gas bill. Later, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott stated that, indeed, “The fire was caused by illegal tampering w/ gas meter.”
It appeared that when a worker showed up for work and sparked up a welder shortly before 7 a.m. it set off the blast.