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California

Saddleridge fire approaches Aliso Canyon natural gas facility, site of massive 2015 blowout

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Oakridge Estates resident Manuel Negrete gazes at the Saddleridge fire as his neighbors evacuate on Thursday night.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Saddleridge fire was burning close to the Aliso Canyon gas facility, which was the site of the largest release of methane in U.S. history.

Flames were approaching the Porter Ranch facility, which has been shut down and evacuated. Firefighters were on the scene for protection.

The Saddleridge fire made a rapid advance from Sylmar to Porter Ranch, outrunning firefighters and emergency officials.

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Waves of embers crested against a two-story home on Sheffield Way in Porter Ranch; flames lapped at the back of it, which abuts a hillside.

A man stared: “That’s my home,” he said. He had gotten out 15 minutes earlier.

Flames already licked a second home on the cul-de-sac, which was choked with thick gray smoke, punctured only by the high beams of cars that sped out of the capillaries of small streets that crisscross the hillsides here.

The Aliso Canyon gas blowout lasted nearly four months and was blamed for sickening thousands of Los Angeles residents, who moved out of their Porter Ranch homes to escape a sulfurous stench and a medley of maladies including headaches, nausea and nosebleeds.

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Some Porter Ranch residents say they still are dealing with health effects.

A state investigation later found the blowout was the result of a corroded pipe casing and safety failures by a California utility.


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