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Gas Explosion Kills Guest At Motel

Wed., Aug. 7, 1996

An apparent natural gas explosion blew out the windows and one wall of a motel room Tuesday, killing its sole occupant and injuring three guests, including a baby boy.

The blast in the first-floor room at the Trade Winds Motor Hotel sent glass flying into the parking lot and blew down the wall between it and the next room, which apparently was unoccupied.

“All we saw were big flames coming from the (destroyed) room. The window just blew across the parking lot,” said Rita Wallace, a guest who was in the motel manager’s office. Police Sgt. Francisco Nogales said residents had reported gas fumes and the gas company was on the way when the blast happened just after noon. He said the dead man’s injuries were consistent with a natural gas blast.

But he added that investigators hadn’t ruled out other causes.

The three injured guests, including a 10-month-old boy, suffered smoke inhalation.

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