Utility tries to determine cause of Oktoberfest explosions

October 7, 2019 GMT
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On Sunday, October 6, 2019 contract crews clean up the aftermath of an electrical vault explosion that happened Saturday night Oct. 5, at the Old World Village in Huntington Beach, Calif., during an Oktoberfest celebration. At least five people were injured in the blast. (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)
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On Sunday, October 6, 2019 contract crews clean up the aftermath of an electrical vault explosion that happened Saturday night Oct. 5, at the Old World Village in Huntington Beach, Calif., during an Oktoberfest celebration. At least five people were injured in the blast. (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Utility crews are working to determine what caused explosions in an underground electrical vault that injured five people and sent flames into the sky during a Southern California Oktoberfest celebration.

Officials said the initial blast blew a vault door off its hinges and knocked people to the ground Saturday at Old World Village in Huntington Beach.

Southern California Edison spokeswoman Susan Cox said Monday that inspectors are focusing on three transformers. Authorities said Sunday that the first explosion splattered heated mineral oil used to cool the transformers and possibly ignited subsequent blasts.

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Two firefighters and two employees were treated for minor injuries. Bernie Bischoff, the owner of Old World restaurant, suffered serious burns.

Bischoff had evacuated a patio area before the blast after noticing an odd smell from the vaults.