HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — A rosary was held Monday night for a man who was injured during a series of explosions in Huntington Beach Saturday night as the investigation continued.
Instead of celebrating the season, patrons gathered at the banquet hall to pray for Bernie Bischof, the owner of Old World Village who suffered major injuries from the explosion.
“There was a lot of people in there, so he’s got a lot of people praying for him,” one woman said. “I hope he’s back soon.”
The explosions happened just after 8 p.m. at an Oktoberfest event at Old World Village on Center Avenue and injured five people — including two firefighters.
“It’s just shocking that it happened,” another woman said. “I just hope nothing but good things for Bernie, because he’s such a sweetheart. His family doesn’t deserve to go through anything like this.”
Bischof remains in serious condition with burns over nearly 40% of his body.
“He was running on fire through the restaurant,” Cindy Kasko, Bischof’s sister, said. “Security saw him and he did the drop, roll deal with him and got the fire off of him and then was hitting him with a table linen to get the fire off.”
Crews from Southern California Edison were on site Monday, but a spokesperson would say only that they were investigating what led up to the explosion that caused a 50-pound metal door on the dining patio that covered the vault where the transformers were located to blow off.
Before the explosion, a server said they smelled something funny and cleared roughly 40 customers from the patio area before calling the fire department. Bischof and fire crews were walking toward the transformer when the explosion happened.
Kasko said two weeks ago she and her brother called SCE to come investigate an odd smell, but crews said at the time it was fine.
However, this wasn’t the first time the transformer exploded.
“This thing had already blown up years ago, and they put a brand new transformer and said, ‘This is good to go, you don’t ever have to worry about it again,'” she said.
Bischof’s attorney said he was expected to recover, but he would be in the hospital for another two to four weeks.