Bomb explosion at Santa Monica synagogue
SANTA MONICA (CNS) – An explosion outside a Jewish temple in Santa Monica prompted evacuations and street closures Thursday as police worked to determine the cause of the blast and whether there might be explosive devices in the area.
Nobody was injured in the blast, which was reported about 6:45 a.m. in the 1400 block of 18th Street, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.
The Santa Monica Synagogue is located on that block, while the Chabad House of Santa Monica is one block west on 17th Street.
According to a statement posted on the Chabad House website, nobody in the facility heard the explosion.
“During morning services today the police department came to Chabad House in response to a report of an explosion,” according to the statement. “The men that were praying did not hear or feel anything. Rabbi Levitansky grabbed one of the new Torah scrolls so they can finish services, which they did at the corner of 17th and S. Monica.”
The blast was initially believed to be from a pipe bomb, but an FBI official told KNX radio that investigators have not yet determined whether there was an explosive device or if the explosion was the result of natural gas or some other cause.
A bomb squad was dispatched to investigate and several nearby residences and businesses were evacuated. Officials from the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department were also on the scene.
Aerial footage from Fox11 showed some type of metal debris that appeared to have crashed through the roof of a home in the neighborhood.