Two Escape Los Angeles Fire After Truck Crashes into Home

LOS ANGELES --

A dump truck crashed into a house in the Hollywood Hills Thursday, slightly injuring the driver, rupturing a natural-gas line and sparking a fire that damaged part of the residence, authorities said.

The crash was reported at about 8 a.m. at 2151 Alcyona Drive, said d'Lisa Davies of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The truck driver was taken to a hospital for examination, Davies said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the house fire, but the flame in the natural gas line -- which broke outside the residence between the main and the meter -- continued to burn, Davies said.

The homeowner, Bob Christopher, told KNBC's Kim Baldonado that the crash marked the seventh time a vehicle has struck his residence. He had installed pipes filled with concrete around the front of the house, but they offered no protection from the runaway truck.

Christopher said he and his girlfriend had just walked out of a bedroom when the truck crashed through the bedroom's wall.

"I said, 'Oh, this is horrible," Christopher said. "I was just riveted."

Christopher and his girlfriend tried to leave the house as it filled with smoke, but the force of the crash shifted the foundation.

"We tried to get out the front door, but we couldn't get out," Christopher said. "We went to the back, which is a big glass sliding door. I couldn't get out. So I pushed and I pushed, and the smoke was coming in from all the sides. Finally, I just knocked it off its hinges."

The two escaped with their dog. The 85-year-old screenwriter said he was "trying to absorb" the destruction.

Crews from the Southern California Gas Co. dug around the line farther away from the house, and pinched off the flow of natural gas by about 10:15 a.m., Davies said. The flames did not spread to brush or to other structures.

Utility crews were working to repair the line and the meter, Davies said. Meanwhile, firefighters worked late this morning to right the damaged dump truck and remove it from the narrow roadway.

Authorities said the truck's drive shaft broke as it came down the hill.

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