Latest: Restaurant owner among 5 hurt in electrical blasts

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on explosions at an Oktoberfest festival in Southern California (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

The owner of a restaurant had evacuated a dining area about 40 minutes before a series of electrical vault explosions injured him and four others during an Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California.

Revelers scrambled for safety after the blasts sent flames shooting into the sky Saturday night at Old World Village, a German-themed dining and shopping complex in Huntington Beach.

Owner Bernie Bischoff called firefighters and cleared the dining area after noticing an odd smell coming from the electrical vault, Old World spokesman Dan Escamilla says.

Escamilla tells the Long Beach Press Telegram that Bischoff was severely burned in the explosions. Two firefighters and two restaurant employees suffered minor injuries.

The newspaper says the initial blast blew a vault door off its latch.

The cause is under investigation.

Sunday’s Oktoberfest events are canceled.


8:45 a.m.

Authorities say five people were hurt in a series of electrical vault explosions during an Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California.

Officials in Huntington Beach said Sunday that four people, including two firefighters, had minor injuries. One person suffered moderate to severe injuries.

The blasts Saturday night caused chaos as hundreds gathered for the annual event at Old World Village in Huntington Beach.

Firefighters were called to the scene for a reported electrical fire. The Long Beach Press Telegram reports the initial blast splattered heated mineral oil used to cool the transformers — and possibly ignited subsequent explosions.

About 1,700 customers lost power. Southern California Edison crews worked overnight to replace three damaged transformers in the vault and restore service.

The incident is under investigation.


10 p.m.

Authorities say multiple injuries were reported after a series of utility pole explosions Saturday night at the Old World Village complex in Huntington Beach, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Fire officials say among those who were injured were patrons of the shopping and dining complex and fire personnel, the newspaper reports.

The Press-Telegram says the source of the explosions may have been an electrical transformer.

While a heavy presence of fire and police personnel tended to the injured, hundreds of others attending an Oktoberfest event evacuated the area.


9:49 p.m.

Authorities have rushed to the scene of explosions at a festival in a Los Angeles suburb, KTLA TV reports.

The explosions at the Old World Oktoberfest in Huntington Beach were reported about 8 p.m., KTLA says. The explosions took place at the Old World Huntington Beach complex.

Witness Kyle Nelson tells the TV station that he heard and saw three large explosions in rapid succession coming from the festival.

The Orange County Register reports multiple ambulances were on scene and at least one injured person was taken out of a building at the venue.

The village has been hosting Oktoberfest events, but it was evacuated after the incident Saturday night.

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