California medical facility evacuated after liquid oxygen tanker explodes

The tanker truck driver suffered significant injuries.

California medical facility evacuated after liquid oxygen tanker explodes

Dozens of patients and medical staff were evacuated from a medical facility after a tanker hauling liquid oxygen exploded and caught fire yesterday afternoon.

The explosion was reported around 2:30 p.m. at a Kaiser Permanente medical facility near Highway 101 in Santa Rosa, California.

Initial reports indicated that a tanker truck hauling liquid oxygen crashed into the medical facility, but Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal later told the SF Gate that a problem occurred with the connection as the the liquid oxygen was transferred to an on-site tank.

The explosion reportedly shook the medical facility like a bomb and resulted in a brush fire. The explosion also caused cryogenic liquid oxygen to leak from the tanker. Some cars were also damaged by the explosion.

The tanker truck driver was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries, though it is unclear exactly where he was at the time that the explosion occured. No other injuries were reported.

Authorities responded to the explosion by evacuating dozens of patients — some of whom were on stretchers and wheelchairs — and staff members from the medical facility and by shutting down Highway 101 in both directions.

Highway 101 was reopened after about an hour.

The incident remains under investigation.