POWAY (CNS) - A North County couple escaped injury Tuesday when a gas leak sparked a minor explosion and small fire underneath their ranch-style home, authorities reported.
The blast and resulting blaze at the house in the 12100 block of Poway Road was reported shortly before 10:30 a.m.
Engine crews arrived to find flames contained to a crawl space beneath the residence, according to Mark Sanchez, director of safety services for the Poway Fire Department.
"We could see active fire underneath the house, underneath the floor, but we could not (immediately) get to it," he said.
Crews had to cut a hole in the family-room floor to extinguish the blaze, which took about 20 minutes.
The homeowners told investigators an appliance repairman had been working on a gas line beneath the residence shortly before the fire erupted. The husband said he had noticed a methane smell just prior to the small explosion.
The mishap resulted in roughly $5,000 worth of damage to the mid-1950s-era house, mostly to the section of flooring that had to be sawed open, according to Sanchez. The blaze itself only burned some insulation and plastic components attached to a wall heater, he said.
The residents were "extremely lucky" to have been able to report the fire immediately, allowing crews to arrive in time to prevent it from spreading through the residence, Sanchez added.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
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Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.