Firefighter killed in explosion while battling blaze near Palmdale

A vehicle explosion killed a Los Angeles County firefighter and injured another as they battled a blaze near Palmdale Friday.

The incident happened at a quarry near the 6500 block of East Avenue in Littlerock around 2 p.m., firefighters said.

Sky5 videos from the scene showed a large tractor, described as an articulated front loader, with flames still visible near the engine and heavy smoke coming from the vehicle.

Authorities confirm the slain firefighter was a 19-year veteran of the department. He was assigned to a four-person engine and worked in the Palmdale area. His identity has not yet been revealed.

A body found in a pile of dirt near the smoking vehicle was seen covered with an American flag.

A second firefighter suffered minor injuries and was transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center. He will be released later Friday evening. The initial cause of the fire is unknown.

Firefighters responded to the scene. Around 6:30 p.m., they were still dousing the smoking vehicle and working to put out the flames.

“He was a wonderful man,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said of the victim. “He was married, he’s a father and it’s such a tragedy.”

The incident will be investigated by the LASD Homicide Bureau and Arson Unit.

“We mourn in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Los Angeles County Fire Department,” said LASD Commander Mark Reyes.

“My heart is heavy to learn that one of our firefighters lost his life while responding to a call in Palmdale,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “My deepest condolences to his family and the other firefighters at Station 93. This reminds us of the dangers our first responders face every day. We owe them our unwavering support as they cope with this loss. I am committed to ensuring our firefighters have the mental health support they need as they grieve.

A press conference where officials provided an update can be viewed in the video player above.

This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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