An investigation is underway after five people were injured when a series of electrical vault explosions struck in the midst of the Oktoberfest celebration at Old World Village in Huntington Beach, authorities said Sunday.
The Saturday night explosions happened when firefighters called to the scene for a reported electrical fire opened a vault door, with the initial explosion splattering heated mineral oil used to cool the transformers – and perhaps igniting subsequent explosions, authorities said on Sunday.
The injured included two firefighters and three restaurant employees, one of them identified by neighbors as the restaurant’s owner. They said he had severe burns, although his injuries have been described as moderate.
Four of the injuries were described as minor. Two were firefighters who had already been released. One unidentified person had moderate to severe injuries, Huntington Beach Battalion Chief Jeff Lopez said. On Saturday night, officials said four people were injured.
Southern California Edison crews worked overnight to replace three damaged transformers in the vault and restore power, spokesman Robert Villegas said. As many as 1,700 customers were initially without power, and that had been reduced to about 300 customers he said.
Power will be restored after the new equipment is tested before going on the grid. Cause of the explosions are under investigation, Villegas said.
Huntington Beach FD gave update on explosions — now 5 injured, including two firefighters and 3 employees of the restaurant near where the blast occurred.
One of the injured is the owner of the restaurant, who had moderate injuries. Neighbors say he had significant burns. https://t.co/nOapMMWOVE
— Josh Cain (@joshpcain) October 6, 2019
“It was crazy, it was so intense. There was a second explosion and then a third. We just started running, we left our cellphones. We were freaking out,” Dawn Orlow-Townsend, a patron at a nearby restaurant, told KCAL9.
“It’s the world we live in right now. After the first explosion, you just don’t know what to think. We didn’t know what was going on. The first one, the second one — then there was mass pandemonium. By the third one, we just couldn’t get out of there fast enough, ” Orlow-Townsend said.