Transformer explodes at Oktoberfest celebration in Huntington Beach, injuring five people


Two firefighters and three patrons were injured Saturday night when a transformer exploded at the Old World Village’s Oktoberfest celebration in Huntington Beach, prompting an immediate evacuation, authorities said.

A call came in after 8 p.m. about a transformer explosion at the festival, said Jeff Lopez, Huntington Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief.

Earlier reports said four people — two firefighters and two civilians — were injured. During a news conference Sunday morning, Lopez said authorities learned about the fifth person, also a civilian, overnight.

The firefighters were treated and released, and two of the three civilians were not seriously injured. The fifth person remained hospitalized Sunday morning.

A video posted on social media showed a large fireball erupting at the site in the 7500 block of Center Avenue. Several witnesses said they heard up to three explosions.

Pat Brassil, 27, was standing outside one of the festival’s tents waiting for his fiancee and sister when he saw flames shoot out from another tent near the entrance.


He said this sent him scrambling to find his fiancee, and moments after they were reunited, another blast occurred.

“It just lit up the sky,” he said. “Everyone was going pretty crazy and screaming. The tent exploded once and then exploded again in the same spot.”

Southern California Edison crews, working overnight, replaced three damaged transformers, which initially cut power to as many as 1,700 customers. That had been reduced to about 300 customers by early Sunday, a spokesman said.