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Firefighter Killed in Explosion Near LAX*

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*UPDATE 5:01: One firefighter was killed and another critically injured after reporting to the scene of an explosion that blew manhole covers off the ground and damaged part of a building in Westchester.

The firefighters were responding to a report of an underground explosion and blown manhole covers in the 8800 block of Sepulveda (between Manchester and La Tijera) and were injured in a second, larger explosion after reporting to the scene, according to LAFD Spokesman Ron Myers.

The fatality was the LAFD's 60th firefighter killed in the line of duty. The other firefighter is in stable condition, undergoing surgery for multiple injuries. The names of the injured were being withheld pending notification of relatives.

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The Water and Power Community Credit Union near the southwest corner of Sepulveda and La Tijera was damaged and an air ambulance was sitting idle in the intersection according to live video (at 3:15 p.m.) from KTLA (see screenshot at right).

One civilian reportedly suffered minor injuries but was treated and released at the scene according to KNX (listen). A "formal and detailed multi-agency investigation is underway to determine the exact nature of the explosion as well as the precise cause and manner of the Firefighters death," according to LAFD Spokesman Brian Humphrey on the LAFD blog.

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