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Oktoberfest explosions leave several injured near LA

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Authorities reported multiple injuries after a series of utility pole explosions Saturday night at a shopping and dining complex in the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Beach, the Long Beach Press-Telegram and other media said.

Among those who were injured by the explosions about 8:15 p.m. at the Old World Village complex were patrons of the complex and fire personnel, fire officials told the Press-Telegram.

The Los Angeles Times and KTLA TV reported that two firefighters and two civilians were treated for injuries described as minor, according to Huntington Beach Fire Department officials.

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

While a heavy presence of fire and police personnel tended to the injured, hundreds of others attending an Oktoberfest event evacuated the area. Power appeared to have been shut off to the complex, the newspaper reported.

Witness Kyle Nelson told KTLA that he heard and saw three large explosions in rapid succession coming from the festival.

Megan Houck, 26, of Long Beach, said that she saw flames come from the floor near a patio area.

“It was just like one giant fireball that went up” she said in a story on the Press-Telegram website. “And then there was a second explosion maybe 10 or 20 seconds later.”

Houck said that the flames went well above the roof of the village, possibly up to 35 to 40 feet high.

A few minutes before the first explosion, Houck said that the lights had shut off and on. Other witnesses reported apparent electrical problems before the first blast.

Pat Brassil, 27, told the Times that he was outside one of the tent’s at the Oktoberfest site waiting for his fiance and sister to return from the bathroom when he saw flames shoot out from another tent near the festival’s entrance.

“It just lit up the sky,” he said. “Everyone was going pretty crazy and screaming.”

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