GARDEN GROVE : Explosions Remain a Mystery to Police

Two unexplained explosions early Sunday rattled windows, set off car alarms and prompted hundreds of emergency calls across a wide area of the city, police said.

No injuries and no major damage were reported. Police said, however, that one resident complained of the blasts’ possibly rupturing his sprinkler system and that a few people reported broken mirrors.

The explosions, which occurred at 12:02 a.m. and 12:47 a.m., remained a mystery after a day of investigation.

“It’s unexplainable at this point,” Police Lt. Chuck Gibbs said. “It was fairly substantial. . . . We got literally hundreds of calls, some of them from some pretty shook up people.”


According to police, the explosions appeared to be centered in an area near the intersection of Lampson Avenue and West Street. Residents near the intersection said Sunday that they too were puzzled and alarmed by the bangs.

“I was sitting here, listening to the news on the radio when there was a huge explosion,” said William Kibbey, who lives on Sally Street, a little more than a block away from the intersection. “It sounded almost like a bomb. We live near Lampson, so we hear cars backfiring, but this was definitely not a backfire. It was like a kaboom.”

Kibbey said he ran to the front door just as his neighbor’s car alarm went off, apparently triggered by the blast.

A few blocks away, Dan Palo, who lives on Nadine Lane, said he was lying in bed when he heard the first explosion. “I heard a boom, and the whole house was shaking,” he said. “We went outside, but we didn’t see anything.”


With many residents alert to the possibility of terrorism, callers to the Police Department were decidely jittery, Gibbs said.

“With this war going on, people had some scary thoughts,” he said.

Although police had responded to a transformer explosion earlier that same evening, the midnight blasts did not appear to involve electrical equipment because there were no signs of lost power.

Gibbs said police also checked with local military and airport authorities--thinking that the noise could have been a sonic boom, made by an aircraft as it passes the speed of sound--but neither reported any incidents that could explain the noises.

Police searched the area that night, and then returned to the scene later in the day Sunday. But even in the daylight, they were unable to find any signs of the explosion, either in the form of debris or damage.

Residents said they looked through their neighborhoods for signs of obvious damage but did not see any.

“It almost had to be something aerial,” Gibbs said. “We found no real damage, no refuse of any kind. It’s a real mystery.”