Marine wife killed in Ca. explosion was Iowan, 31

AP News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2012 3:10 AM
Marine wife killed in Ca. explosion was Iowan, 31

A woman killed in a propane gas explosion outside a remote Northern California training base was the 31-year-old wife of a U.S. Marine, and a mother of two from Hudson, Iowa, military officials said late Saturday.

The woman, Lori Hardin, was the wife of Gunnery Sgt. Greg G. Hardin of Tuolumne, Calif., a public works planner for the Marines, according to a statement from the Marine Corps.

Greg Hardin and the couple's two children were not hurt in the Friday night explosion at a housing unit in the Mono County town of Coleville that serves the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, where Marines train for mountain operations.

Two other blast victims, a Navy corpsman and his wife, were flown to hospitals with serious injuries including third-degree burns.

One of them was treated at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev. and was released Saturday. The other remained in critical condition at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.

The Marines did not say whether it was the corpsman or his wife who remained in the hospital, and authorities have not released their names.

The explosion was related to the housing area's propane distribution system, and was not associated with activities at the Marine base, which is about 30 miles away, according to Marine spokesman Capt. Nicholas Mannweiler.

Mannweiler said seven duplexes were damaged and 38 families were evacuated, most because utilities serving their homes were shut off for safety reasons. At least some are staying with other people in town.

The evacuations had not been lifted as of Saturday afternoon at the housing unit, which is made up of 38 duplexes and some stand-alone homes, Mannweiler said.

"We have to inspect everything to make sure we're not jeopardizing our families," he said.

Other people suffered superficial cuts and bruises in the explosion, which is being investigated with help from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Located at an altitude of about 9,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains near the Nevada border, the Mountain WarfareTraining Center is one of the Marine's most remote posts.

The base, which has about 160 Marines and 300 support staff, conducts unit and individual training for action in mountainous, high altitude and cold weather areas.

"As Marines, we tend to take pretty good pride in being in shape," Mannweiler said. "But guys come out to (this base) to see what they are made of."

Many service members on the base have seen combat action, said Rodney Allen, the training center's deputy director.

He said families are coming together to help those who were affected.

"Military families are resilient," he said.