Firefighters respond to explosion at 'Beverly Hillbillies' actor's home

An explosion on Balboa Island at the former home of deceased "The Beverly Hillbillies" actor Buddy Ebsen caused a fire about 10 a.m. Wednesday, a Newport Beach fire official said.

A small boat's portable gas tank in the home's basement leaked fuel vapors that ignited on a nearby pilot light for a water heater, Newport Beach Fire Department spokesman Glenn White said.

"This caused an explosion that ripped the lock off of the basement double doors and blew the doors open," he said.

Nobody was injured in the blast or subsequent fire.

About 25 firefighter responded to the scene and put out the blaze in about 20 minutes, according to the department.

Ebsen is best known for his role as Jed Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies."

He was a Newport Beach resident and Balboa Bay Club member before he died in 2003 at 95.

The house in the 500 block of South Bay Front is up for sale for about $9 million, White said.

The basement is used as storage for a youth yacht club while renters occupy the main two-story home, he added.

Most of the house only suffered smoke damage with flames contained to the basement, White said.

White said water heaters in utility areas are required by code to be elevated off the ground by a 30-inch pedestal, something that may have prevented the explosion in this case.

"Fuel vapors are heavier than air," he said.


Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World