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Firefighter blown back five feet from explosion in basement. Escapes serious injury in California, PA fire.

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According to news reports, In California, Pennsylvania yesterday a California Borough firefighter was blown five feet off an exterior stairwell after an explosion in the basement of a burning home. He was not seriously injured. Also, a person passing by the home had brought the 77-year-old occupant to safety before firefighters arrived.

From Scott Beveridge at Observer-Reporter.com:

California fire Chief Tom Hartley said the explosion likely was triggered by heating oil that caught fire when it leaked across a floor, knocking firefighter Donald Towner out of the basement door at 184 California Road. Towner then returned to fighting the 3:30 p.m. blaze, Hartley said.

"That's what blew," Hartley said. "We had to fill the basement with foam to put out the fire."

From J. Miles Layton at HeraldStandard.com:

Hartley said as borough firefighter Donald Towner, was walking down exterior steps into the basement, there was an explosion. Hartley said force of the explosion knocked Downer back about five feet, but he was not injured and went back to work fighting the fire.

Hartley said the explosion was most likely caused by an oil line erupting.

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