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Blast that killed firefighter at CU deemed accidental
LOS ANGELES (4/2/08)--An explosion Wednesday at an intersection near Los Angeles International Airport that killed a firefighter, critically injured another and significantly damaged a branch of the Water and Power Community CU building was ruled accidental. The explosion was a result of a “freak accident” due to series of electrical blasts in the area, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday (San Jose Mercury News April 1). Results of the investigations were released at a Friday press conference by the mayor and the heads of the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Department of Water And Power. No credit union employees or members were hurt in the explosion. "We had two credit union members and three staff members in the building at the time of the explosion," Linda Heidtke, marketing director at the Westchester-based credit union, told News Now (March 28). "No one was hurt. However, the branch will be closed for some time.” "Our members are being directed to two of our nearby branches or to the shared branching system of the Credit Union Service Center system for their banking needs," she added. Water and Power CU and the Los Angeles Firemen's CU established a memorial fund through the Fire Family Foundation, a 501(c) 3 foundation, to honor Firefighter Brent A. Lovrien, the Los Angeles firefighter who lost his life. Injured Firefighter Anthony Guzman remains hospitalized. The Los Angeles-based, $432.8 million asset Water and Power Community CU is crediting firefighters with helping save the lives of credit union members by telling them to go back into the credit union building when they attempted to exit, right before the fatal explosion occurred, Heidtke said.


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