HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBS) — At least two firefighters and two civilians were injured Saturday evening after a transformer exploded in Huntington Beach during an Oktoberfest event.
Witnesses said there were a series of explosions — at least three said several witnesses who spoke to CBS2/KCAL9.
Video of what appears to be an explosion was sent to CBS2/KCAL9 by a viewer.
The incident is playing out at the Old World Village/Event Center.
Sk9 was overhead. CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Jeff Nguyen was dispatched to cover the incident by ground.
Officials told him “several people were injured” along with the firefighters.
The area has a lot of restaurants and shops. Oktoberfest 2019 was planned at the venue this evening.
One of the Oktoberfest guests was reportedly injured and critically. The Fire Chief downplayed that report and said, “unless things have changed since I spoke to you last, I believe all four injuries to be relatively minor.”
A couple named Rick and Dawn Orlow-Townsend were eating at a nearby restaurant when the explosion hit.
Dawn called to talk to anchor Juan Fernandez and several times had to catch herself.
“I pray those firefighters are okay,” she said, “It was crazy, it was so intense. There was a second explosion and then a third. We just started running, we left our cellphones. We were freaking out. People were running all over. It was crazy.”
Several times she had to gather herself and apologized several time for being completely “freaked out.”
She added, “It’s the world we live in right now. After the first explosion, you just don’t know what to think. We didn’t know what was going on. The first one, the second one – then there was mass pandemonium. By the third one, we just couldn’t get out of there fast enough.”
CBS2/KCAL9 anchor Sara Donchey spoke to another witness, Adam Carlson, who said he was close enough to the fire initially that he tried to put it out.
“I pushed myself toward the fire to see if I could help security. They were fighting with the extinguisher on the wall and I pulled it off and started just spraying everything I could see. This was after the first two explosions and then came a third,” Carlson said.
“Everyone was just happy and drinking beer and then the first explosion hit and people started backing away, and security tried to calm everyone,” Carlson said, “I didn’t see anyone get hurt in my immediate response, but while evacuating we saw, I personally saw two people that appeared hurt, one had burns. I just tried to comfort who I could.”
Oktoberfest is a long-standing event in Orange County.