The blast sent flames shooting some 30 feet (9 metres) into the air, and, according to media reports, rocked the surrounding Riverside County neighbourhood with such force that some residents initially mistook it for an earthquake.
The gas rupture was caused by a contractor digging at the home without first calling to have underground utility lines marked, as required by law, according to the Southern California Gas company.
One of the gas company workers on the scene was killed and 15 other people who were hurt in the blast – three of them firefighters – were taken to hospitals for evaluation, fire and utility officials said. Their conditions and the severity of the injuries was not disclosed.
Murrieta is about 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Los Angeles.
(Production: Bob Mezan)