SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say one person has been taken into custody on suspicion of arson after a huge explosion and fire rocked a Santa Monica apartment.
The explosion unfolded about 1 a.m. Sunday at a second-story apartment of a complex in the 1800 block of Euclid Street.
Neighbors say it was then that they heard a huge explosion. A fire erupted afterwards.
“I was watching TV and tried to go to sleep and I just heard a big blast that pretty much shook the apartment,” Nguyen Trinh, a neighbor, said.
“I was asleep and I was wake up. I heard this big bang. I thought it was like a big explosion or UFO landing on something,” said Adele Burgarella, another neighbor.
The explosion caused damage to the apartment, one upstairs and a third apartment in a building next door.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in about 20 minutes. No one suffered any serious injuries.
Police said they took one person into custody. Neighbors identified that individual as the person who lives in the apartment where the explosion unfolded.
They said they believe he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and that he also faced eviction.
According to authorities, the man allegedly told them he turned on the gas, which they believe caused the explosion. The man suffered minor burns to his hands and feet.
A battalion chief for the Santa Monica Fire Department said a firefighter also went to the hospital possibly due to dehydration.
CBS2’s Joy Benedict also spoke to neighbors who heard the loud explosion.
“It was like a big bang,” said Sonny Santos, “like a grenade.”
“I saw this big blast of air go by and I heard a huge explosion,” said Charles Walker.
Santos and Walker live downstairs from the apartment where the explosion took place.
“He was standing right there just staring at his place,” said Stantos.
He was in disbelief that his neighbor could have intentionally set the fire.
“I didn’t think he’d do that,” said Santos. “I’m just glad that everybody’s okay.”
An investigation is ongoing.