Sport Chalet explosion

Los Angeles County Fire responded to an explosion, injuring two, at Sport Chalet in La Canada Flintridge. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / March 1, 2013)

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of an explosion Friday at Sport Chalet in La Cañada Flintridge that resulted in two employees being burned.

The explosion caused about $10,000 in damage to the structure of the sporting goods store and its contents, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department representative.

Authorities have not reported on the condition of the unidentified employees, citing patient privacy regulations. The employees, who were described as suffering from flash burns consistent with a natural gas explosion, were taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment.

Sport Chalet is looking at “all possibilities to assist the employees,” who were described as store “experts,” said spokesman Evan Pondel.

Fire officials say the employees were hurt about 9:59 a.m. when they were asked to shut off a gas valve after someone reported smelling gas.

The explosion was described as a sudden flash fire in the pool and scuba area of the sporting goods store.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson Explosive Detail is investigating the incident, which officials said didn’t appear to be suspicious.

Evidence collected from the store has been taken to the sheriff’s crime lab to be examined, Deputy Jeff Gordon said.

Investigators are waiting for results to determine the cause of the explosion, he added.

Officials from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health have also launched an investigation, which could take up to six months to complete, agency spokesman Peter Melton said.

During the investigation, he said, inspectors likely will visit the store and talk to the injured employees, store managers and public safety officials.

Inspectors will also examine the store’s injury and illness prevention program, which businesses are required to have in California, Melton added. The custom-designed program should detail procedures for various scenarios including potentially dangerous situations, such as checking on gas smells, he said.

The program requires eight elements, including responsibility, compliance, communication, hazard assessment, accident and exposure investigation, hazard correction, record-keeping and training and instruction, according the agency’s website.

Officials will also look into whether the employees were properly trained to deal with a gas issue.

Employees, Melton said, should be trained on procedures described in the workplace safety program.

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