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California firefighter killed in front-loader explosion

LOS ANGELES (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - At least one Los Angeles County firefighter, Andrew Pontious, was killed while battling a fire at a quarry near Palmdale on Friday when there was some sort of explosion, according to the department.

The spot of a deadly fire in Littlerock on Friday, which left one LA County firefighter dead.

It happened a little after 2:00pm, at which point crews were sent to the area of E. Avenue T, a rock quarry near the Pearblossom Highway, for a truck fire in the area, Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) officials said.

It remains unclear what triggered the explosion and an investigation is underway.

A second firefighter was rushed to a nearby hospital for injuries suffered in the explosion, according to LACoFD Chief Anthony C. Marrone. They are expected to be released later Friday.

Pontious was a 19-year veteran of the department who was a father and a husband, according to LACoFD officials. He worked at Fire Station 93 in Palmdale.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's (LACSD) Homicide Bureau Arson and Explosives detail is investigating the matter.

It remains unclear what caused the fire and what exactly exploded.

With SkyCal overhead, a massive Caterpillar front-loader could be seen with large flames black smoke still billowing from its engine area.

An American flag was draped over the victim's body dozens of feet from the vehicle, which firefighters were still dousing with water form afar for hours after the death.

Article Topic Follows: California News

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