An inmate who was injured in a gas pipeline explosion at a Sheriff’s gun range in Central California last month has died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the blast. According to authorities at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Jeremiah Espino, 52, of Sanger, was severely injured in a gas pipeline blast in April. The gas pipeline explosion sent 11 people to the hospital. Eight of the injured were inmates who had been doing cleanup work at the range, as well as a county employee who had been operating a front loader.
Another county employee, who remains in critical condition, and two other inmates are still currently hospitalized at Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center. The county employee was using the front-loader to build a dirt berm to confine gunfire to the range. The explosion sent flames towering over a nearby highway and warped 400 feet of nearby railway line, shutting down both.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. investigated the explosion and said that the county employee who had been operating the front loader ruptured a gas line, causing the explosion. Officials with the Sheriff’s office disputed the PG&E’s assertion and have said that the equipment operator was smoothing dirt at the time of the explosion, not digging near the line, and was driving on the road near the berm when the incident happened.
Other agencies are also now investigating the incident. Other agencies involved in the inquiry are the Fresno County Sheriff’s office, the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E and the Fresno Fire Department.
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