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From the Archives: gas main explodes in Long Beach on the Fourth of July

From the Archives: gas main explodes in Long Beach on the Fourth of July
July 4, 1973: Firemen battle blaze set off when a gas main exploded outside an apartment building on Wilton Avenue in Long Beach. (Fitzgerald Whitney / Los Angeles Times)

A Long Beach apartment building was destroyed in an explosion and resulting fire on the Fourth of July in 1973. Four residents of the building were injured.

This photo accompanied a story in the July 5, 1973, Los Angeles Times reporting:

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A gas main explosion set off an apartment house fire in Long Beach Wednesday night, burning two persons. Two others who jumped from windows also were injured.

Authorities said 10 persons were in the two-story building - which was destroyed - when the blaze broke out. No deaths were reported.

Ten engine companies were dispatched to the scene at 3351 Wilton Ave. Ten police units cordoned off the area to keep out hundreds of onlookers.

The explosion which occurred after 8:30 p.m., ripped a 40-foot hole in the street and sent flames into the 15-unit structure.

A separate fire roared from the hole, severing power lines, destroying five parked cars and damaging several others, officials said. …

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