Authorities confirmed that a gas cylinder exploded in a building tucked behind a meat market and a bakery at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Mario Rueda, deputy captain of the LA fire department.
One person died after being taken from the scene, said Police Capt. William Hayes. The three others were taken to hospitals, one of them in critical condition and two in fair condition.
Rueda said he could not say what kind of business it was or what type of gas was in the tank, and said both pieces of information were the subject of their joint investigation with police.
The manager of a neighboring business shrugged when asked what sort of business operated there. Bermis Meat Market manager Ayman Eldik said he didn't pry and wasn't sure.
Eldik says moments after the loud blast, two women pounded on the back door of the meat market, located off a shared alleyway with the other business, which doesn't have a storefront or signage.
"They were covered in blood," said Eldik, gesturing up and down his torso.
One woman had severe foot injuries and Eldik said he grabbed bags of ice to help her and had a coworker call 911.
A large delivery of the cylinders had arrived at the business around noon Wednesday, blocking part of his driveway, Eldik said.