Surveillance camera captures deadly water tank explosion in Lemoore

CBS47 News

LEMOORE, California. (KGPE) – The City of Lemoore has declared a State of Emergency following the deadly water tank explosion Monday afternoon. A city employee was hurt, and a 41-year-old contractor was killed.

The rupture of a 1.5-million-gallon city water tank has left the site out of operation.

City officials released new footage Tuesday night that captured the moment the tank exploded, hurting a city employee and killing a contactor.

“As a contractor started to weld, an explosion ensued, the tank separated from the ground, lifted approximately 70 feet vertically before a tsunami occurred, causing major damage to well site 7,” explained Lemoore City Manager Nathan Olson.

Olson says an injured city employee is now out of the hospital and is resting with family, but a 41-year-old contractor named Dion Jones never made it home.

“Mr. Jones is married with three children. He has worked for Filanc for 16 years as a union carpenter,” said Olson.

Until the site is fixed, residents are urged to save water by not watering their lawns or using hoses to spray down concrete or cars.

Jamie Paich says he’s noticed low water pressure at his home.

“It was just a little bit low but still running, still clear,” said Paich.  

He’s not concerned about conserving water since he does it anyway.

“Well, I’ve got this drip irrigation put in, I don’t water the back yard, I don’t take very long showers, I get in get wet and turn the water off, a navy shower,” Paich explained.  

Firefighters also felt the impact of low pressure as they battled a five-acre grass fire Tuesday afternoon near the site of the explosion.

“They are using tactics where they aren’t using a lot of water. We have our bulldozer coming in to put a line around it so we won’t need to use as much water putting a line around it,” said Kings County Fire Battalion Chief Sal Gutierrez.

The city says the water is safe to drink despite low pressure and possible discoloration, but there is potential for a boil water notice in the coming days if things change.

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