LEMOORE, Calif. (KSEE) – The California city of Lemoore declared a state of emergency following a deadly water tank explosion that was caught on camera Monday afternoon.
When the 1.5-million-gallon city water tank ruptured, the massive storage container flying into the air, then crumpling on impact, it left the site out of operation.
City officials released new footage Tuesday night that captured the moment the tank exploded, hurting a city employee and killing a contactor.
“As a contractor started to weld, an explosion ensued, the tank separated from the ground, lifted approximately 70 feet vertically before a tsunami occurred, causing major damage to well site 7,” explained Lemoore City Manager Nathan Olson.
Olson says the injured city employee is now out of the hospital and is resting with family. The contractor who was killed has been identified as 41-year-old Dion Jones.
“Mr. Jones is married with three children. He has worked for Filanc for 16 years as a union carpenter,” said Olson.
Until the site is fixed, residents are being urged to save water by not watering their lawns or using hoses to spray down concrete or cars. Temperatures in Lemoore are expected to near 110 degrees over the weekend.
Resident Jamie Paich said he’s already noticed low water pressure at his home.
“It was just a little bit low but still running, still clear,” said Paich.
Firefighters also felt the impact of low pressure as they battled a five-acre grass fire Tuesday afternoon near the site of the explosion.
“They are using tactics where they aren’t using a lot of water. We have our bulldozer coming in to put a line around it so we won’t need to use as much water putting a line around it,” said Kings County Fire Battalion Chief Sal Gutierrez.
The city says the water is safe to drink despite low pressure and possible discoloration, but there is potential for a boil water notice in the coming days if things change.