Updated: Gardener Injured in Blast

Monday afternoon explosion rocks east Los Gatos.

A San Jose resident was injured Monday afternoon while doing gardening work with a hedge trimmer that somehow caused an explosion outside a home in east Los Gatos.

The incident happened about 2 p.m. and and Santa Clara County Fire personnel responded to the sound of the explosion from the front yard of the residence located at the corner of Westhill and Belblossom drives, said Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Sgt. spokesman Kerry Harris.

At the scene, police found the badly injured man, 39, on the ground. They said he had been working as a landscaper at the home.

The man suffered lacerations and burns on his face, head and hands, and a broken leg, Harris said. He was transported to Valley Medical Center.

Interviewing the victim, police learned he had been using a hedge trimmer when the explosion occurred, throwing him some distance back onto the ground, causing his injuries, Harris added. 

It is unknown what caused the explosion and county fire and PG&E crews checked the scene for chemicals or natural gas which could have caused the blast, but found none, he said.

Update: 2:30 p.m., March 9: Based on soil sampling from the site, it was determined that the source of the combustible fumes that caused the blast was turpentine or paint thinner that had been deposited on the ground. No natural gas or methane was found at the location, Harris said.

West Valley Sanitation also responded to investigate for the presence of methane gas. As of this time the cause of the explosion is under investigation, Harris noted.

Per policy, the police report of the event will be forwarded to rhw Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency as an industrial accident, he said.

Mary Pope-Handy March 30, 2012 at 02:53 PM
At the meeting on March 26, the cause being turpentine was retracted by officials. At the community meeting, police, fire and PG & E officials said that the cause of the explosion (and fireball, apparently) were not known.


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