CALFIRE TO HONOR FIREFIGHTER KILLED IN YUCCA VALLEY EXPLOSION 50 YEARS AGO

Fifty years ago Yucca Valley was rocked by a huge fire and gas explosion that ended up killing a firefighter and injuring more than a dozen people. Managing editor Tami Roleff says that on February 20, the CalFire station in Yucca Valley will honor the young firefighter who died following the blast…

Unigas Fire. Bob Stevenson photo.

Fifty years ago, on February 20,1970, a liquid propane tanker was making a delivery to the Unigas facility, which was located between the California Welcome Center and the Ideal Mall in Yucca Valley. The gas hose burst, igniting a fire. While firefighters were battling the massive blaze, which could be seen for miles, the propane tank exploded, sending gas and shrapnel into the air. Two firefighters—Paul Wearing, who was 20 at the time, and Ron Newport, who was 26, were thrown 100 feet from the force of the explosion. Both suffered third-degree burns from the burning gas. Paul Wearing died from the burns March 9. On February 20, the Yucca Valley Calfire Station will hold a ceremony commemorating the fire and Paul Wearing’s sacrifice. The event will be held from 10 to 2 p.m., with remarks starting at 11 a.m. Calfire will hold an open house with static displays of current and vintage equipment. The Calfire station is located at 7105 Airway Avenue in Yucca Valley.

Unigas Fire. Bob Stevenson photo.
Unigas Fire. Bob Stevenson photo.
Unigas Fire. Bob Stevenson photo.
Unigas Fire. Bob Stevenson photo.

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