One home flattened, another on fire after explosion in Riverside

A Riverside community was shaken awake Friday morning when an unoccupied home exploded, flattening the property.

Riverside Fire Department Capt. Bruce Vanderhorst said an early morning call came in "as a resident that said 'I think the house blew up next door.'"


Just before 4:20 a.m., the home in the 4100 block of Ivanpah Place exploded when natural gas inside the home ignited, Vanderhorst said. The house had been vacant for the last month while it underwent renovations.

The blast was so massive that all that was left of the home was a flattened pile of wood and rubble, and a geyser of flames blasting from the natural gas line, television news footage showed. There were no reported injuries.

Vanderhorst said he's never responded to an incident like it before. The scene, he added, initially left crews speechless.

"There's no way to really describe this one," Vanderhorst said one firefighter told him.

"All I know is it sounded like a trash truck dropped from a helicopter," resident Gary Wolfenberger told NBC-Los Angeles.

The blast caused structural damage to the home to the west. And the attic of the home to the east of the blast caught fire, Vanderhorst said.

Wayne Keller was in the home to the east sleeping when his the house blew up.

"It was mayhem; you could hear the gas line going like crazy," he told KABC.  He described his home as "uninhabitable" after the blast.

Keller said the owners of the next-door property were preparing to rent it out.

Arson investigators will start their inquiry after the gas line is shut down, Vanderhorst said.