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Los Angeles County firefighters salute a coroner’s van transporting Andrew Pontious who was killed when a portion of a burning front-loader exploded at a quarry Friday Littlerock CA, June 14, 2024.
County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said a short time after crews arrived, perhaps around 2:10 p.m., an explosion occurred, killing Andrew Pontious, a 19-year veteran firefighter.
(Photo by Gene Blevins, Contributing Photographer)
Los Angeles County firefighters salute a coroner’s van transporting Andrew Pontious who was killed when a portion of a burning front-loader exploded at a quarry Friday Littlerock CA, June 14, 2024. County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said a short time after crews arrived, perhaps around 2:10 p.m., an explosion occurred, killing Andrew Pontious, a 19-year veteran firefighter. (Photo by Gene Blevins, Contributing Photographer)
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UPDATED:

A Los Angeles County firefighter was killed on Friday, June 14, when part of a burning front-loader exploded at a Littlerock quarry.

Los Angeles County Fire Department crews responded around 2 p.m. to the quarry in the 7300 block of Pearblossom Highway in the community southeast of Palmdale on a report of a burning vehicle.

For update, see: Firefighter mourned following death in Littlerock quarry explosion

County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said a short time after crews arrived, perhaps around 2:10 p.m., an explosion occurred, killing Andrew Pontious, a 19-year firefighter.

Into early evening, his body remained at the scene, covered with an American flag.

A second firefighter who was near the blast was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center, but did not suffer any serious injuries and was being released from the hospital, Marrone said.

“I don’t know how the fire started, and I don’t know what exploded,” Marrone said, noting that a thorough investigation will be conducted.

Marrone said Pontious was stationed in Palmdale. Marrone called him a “wonderful man. He was married. He’s a father. It’s just such a tragedy.”

By late afternoon, the large front-loader was still burning and sending thick black smoke into the air.

Fire crews kept their distance from the equipment, which was in an isolated dirt area and did not present any danger of spreading flames to other vehicles. Crews kept a water hose line on the vehicle, and most of the flames appeared to have been doused by early evening.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes the Littlerock area, said in a statement that her “heart is heavy. …

“My deepest condolences to (the Pontious family) and the other firefighters at Station 93,” she said. “It’s a sobering reminder of the dangers our first responders face every day.

“We owe them our steadfast support as they grapple with this loss,” the supervisor said. “I’m committed to ensuring our fire personnel are connected with needed mental-health support as they grieve.”

A Los Angeles County firefighters procession continues down the 14 Freeway for Andrew Pontious who was killed when a portion of a burning front-loader exploded at a quarry Friday Littlerock CA, June 14, 2024.County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said a short time after crews arrived, perhaps around 2:10 p.m., an explosion occurred, killing Andrew Pontious, a 19-year veteran firefighter.(Photo by Gene Blevins, Contributing Photographer)

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