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Man injured in Downtown Bakersfield apartment explosion speaks out

Bakersfield Apartment Explosion
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 20:23:10-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It’s been little more than a week since an explosion rocked a downtown apartment building in Bakersfield. The blast injured two people and displaced dozens more. For the first time, we’re hearing from one of the people impacted by the blast and his plans to take legal action as a result of his injuries.

It was a normal day for Zackhary Williamson before his world was rocked. He was in a unit next to the apartment where the explosion took place, and he says the injuries he sustained will be with him for the rest of his life.

“I was sitting down eating a sandwich and then I was airborne. I hit the top of the ceiling. I hit the side of the wall, and I was trying to get myself back up.”

Zackhary Williamson
It was a normal day for Zackhary Williamson before his world was rocked. He was in a unit next to the apartment where the explosion took place, and he says the injuries he sustained will be with him for the rest of his life.

Williams’ days working construction may be over following an explosion that he claims broke his leg last week.

“Snapped it in half and then I have drop foot.”

Williams says immediately following the blast he ended up crawling out of his apartment and throwing himself over the balcony before falling onto the ground. He says he then hid under a vehicle waiting for help not knowing what was coming next.

His first thought considering the proximity to the federal building that there had been a terrorist attack.

Apartment explosion in Downtown Bakersfield

Pacific Gas and Electric manages gas and electric lines on the property but a statement from the company says: “The incident was not related to PG&E equipment. The leak source is thought to have originated inside the apartment which is customer-owned assets. We completed our investigation after thoroughly checking pg&e and customer-owned gas lines.”

23AC reached out to Golden Empire Affordable Housing about the building owners - Park 20th LP - but have not heard back.

Williams’ lawyer is also hoping to get more clarity from the limited partnership in the days to come.

“I would like to invite them to give us the opportunity to get our experts into the scene so we can evaluate it and determine what caused this explosion.”

No lawsuit has been filed yet as the investigation into the cause of the explosion continues. But Williams's attorney said Friday that the evidence they’ve seen does not point towards a meth lab.

“There have been explosions in meth labs. What you see is you see the BPD’s drug unit on scene and you typically see a hazmat crew on scene and at this point in time we see no evidence of a hazmat crew having responded to the scene."

As for Williams he says he’s taking recovery one day at a time but fears from that recent explosion will stay with him for the foreseeable future.

“Afraid to turn on a stove.”

Helping residents following downtown apartment explosion

Kern Housing Authority Executive Director Heather Kimmel told 23ABC that authorities deemed 12 units in the apartment complex as uninhabitable after the explosion. She spoke to all affected residents Thursday and that the housing authority continues to cover all relocation costs.

There were two people injured in this explosion. At this time we don’t have any further updates on the second person who was injured.