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California building explosion, fire burns 2 contractors

The Santa Monica Fire Department confirmed that a five-story building near the pier was involved in what appears to be an electrical explosion, which was followed by a fire. There were two contractors working on the building when the incident happened just before noon on June 10, and both were hospitalized for burn injuries.

The fire department reports that the two contractors were working in the basement where the explosion occurred. It took first responders only three minutes after being dispatched to find the pair. Firefighters were able to keep the explosion and fire contained. They also searched the area and ventilated it. No one was allowed to enter the building until crews from Southern California Edison arrived.

One of the men is in critical condition at UCLA Westwood Medical Center with burns covering his body by more than 40 percent. The second worker suffered moderate burns and was hospitalized at Santa Monica Hospital. There were no other people in the building when the explosion happened. Investigators from SCE and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are analyzing the incident to determine the cause.

In California, workers' compensation is required for business owners. If employers do not have coverage under their own insurance, they have the ability to obtain coverage through the California State Fund. The insurance provides financial help to employees when they are injured on the job. The burn victims, for example, may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. The medical care benefits that workers' compensation provides might include doctor visits, tests, equipment, travel costs and medication. The insurance could also provide the burn victims with temporary disability and permanent disability benefits.

Source: Santa Monica Lookout, 'Two Burned in Santa Monica Explosion," Daniel Larios, June 11, 2014

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, 'The Basics of Workers' Compensation"

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "2 Burned In Santa Monica Building Explosion", June 10, 2014

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