A 47-year-old man was dead after an explosion in a residential garage in Orange late Thursday, police said.
The blast occurred at about 11:20 p.m. in the 600 block of East Oakmont Avenue, Orange police Sgt. Stephen Elfelt said in a statement. The Orange Fire Department quickly extinguished the resulting fire inside the garage, which was attached to a single-family home.
A preliminary investigation indicated the explosion originated inside the garage, but the cause was unknown, Elfelt said. The man was inside when the blast occurred.
Kim Pritchett, 56, a neighbor, said she and her daughter were standing in their kitchen when they heard the blast.
“I thought we were at the epicenter of an earthquake,” Pritchett said. “When we came outside we saw all kinds of smoke.”
Her husband and other neighbors approached the garage and saw the man’s badly burned body. Believing he was dead and unsure if there would be another explosion, they backed away and waited for firefighters.
Pritchett's 16-year-old daughter, Aubrey Pritchett, said there was glass and wire in the street.
Kim Pritchett said she had lived in the neighborhood for 28 years and watched the man grow up. She said he was a father of at least one child and lived at the home with his parents.
“We’re praying,” she said. “I’m just hoping the family can get through this.”
Times photographer Irfan Khan contributed to this report.
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