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A Natural Gas Leak And Two Explosions In Koreatown Led To A School Lockdown

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A natural gas leak and pair of explosions inside an electrical vault in Koreatown injured two people and led to the lockdown of a school Friday morning.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a report of a gas leak in the 600 block of Shatto Place about 8:20 a.m. They arrived to find the aftermath of an electrical vault explosion, according to spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. L.A. police also responded, along with workers from LADWP and SoCal Gas.

"Shortly after arriving, a (second) electrical vault explosion occurred," she said. "Natural gas is still noticeable in the area and LAFD, SoCal Gas and DWP are working together to identify and mitigate any safety hazards."

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Two women were assessed for injuries and one was transported to a local hospital. About 50 LAFD personnel were initially on the scene, Stewart said, later adding they were sending some engines elsewhere and turning the scene over to LADWP.

Stewart said a nearby school was placed on lockdown, but no evacuations have been ordered in the area. According to principal Justin Lauer of Young Oak Kim Academy, students and staff had to "shelter in place," but it wasn't a lockdown.

By noon the middle school and its students were "back to normal," Lauer said. "We're fine."

Just before 11:30 a.m., Stewart said gas levels had diminished "below any level of concern" and a fire in one of the electrical vaults had been put out.

The nearby Wilshire/Vermont Metro Red Line station was not affected and is fully operational, Stewart said. Some road closures are in place.

  • 6th Street from S. Westmoreland Avenue to Vermont Avenue
  • Shatto Place from 5th Street to Wilshire Boulevard


12:16 p.m.: This story was updated with information from the principal at Young Oak Kim Academy.

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