[UPDATED March 24, 2023]
Five people were sent to the hospital after an explosion at the Val D’lesere condominiums located at 194 Hillside Drive in Mammoth Lakes, CA, on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. A propane tank may have caused the explosion, but the exact cause is still under investigation. Four people have subsequently been released from hospital, a fifth person, is in a stable condition.
- Related: Town of Mammoth Lakes, CA, Issues Evacuation Warning | Snow-Damaged Properties Pose Threat to Life
According to the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, at approximately 9:23 a.m. on Wednesday, the condominiums experienced an explosion. Upon arriving, first responders found a building collapsed next to the pool area. Two complex workers were visible, one needing extraction from the snow and debris. Both workers were transported to Mammoth Hospital for further evaluation.
A man approached first responders stating that his wife and son were trapped in their residence. To reach them, rescue workers hiked around the northwest side of the collapsed structure. The son was in the bedroom area and was carried out and transported to Mammoth Hospital for evaluation. The wife was found in the kitchen and transported to Sierra Lifeflight at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. It is understood the woman was in critical condition, but is now stable. Two male victims sustained moderate injuries, while two others sustained only minor injuries. All four of these have since been released.
Responding agencies included Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District, Santa Fe Springs Fire Department, Pasadena Fire Department, CAL FIRE, San Diego Fire Department, Riverside County Fire, Sierra LifeFlight, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, Los Angeles County Sherriffs, CAL OES, Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol, and Eastside K-9s.
As of March 24, 2023, the area is still restricted. Building and safety personnel remain on site, which is closed to public. Val D’Isere units 11-46 are accessible to the public.
While the exact cause is yet to be confirmed, it is important to remember to clear snow off gas tanks, fill pipes, and vents. Snow or ice accumulations can cause parts of your propane system to crack or break, resulting in a gas leak. A blocked vent can cause a back-up of carbon monoxide in your home. If your tank is entirely buried, make sure to attach a brightly colored flag to the top of your propane tank so that it can be spotted easily. Never use a shovel against or on top of your tank or a vent, and never kick your tank. Only use your hands or a broom to remove snow to avoid damaging equipment. If you do smell gas, notify your gas provider and move to a safe distance.
Mammoth Snow Totals