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Restaurant owner hailed as hero after explosions at Oktoberfest in California

Baku, October 7, AZERTAC 

Five people were hurt and revelers scrambled for safety when a series of explosions in an underground electrical vault sent flames shooting into the sky during an Oktoberfest celebration at a German-themed shopping and dining complex in Southern California, authorities said Sunday, according to Associated Press.

The first blast blew a vault door off its hinges and knocked several people to the ground after firefighters responded to reports of a possible electrical fire Saturday evening at Old World Village in Huntington Beach, witnesses and officials said.

Two firefighters and two restaurant employees were treated for minor injuries, according to Battalion Chief Jeff Lopez with the city’s fire department.

Bernie Bischoff, the owner of Old World restaurant, was seriously hurt, Oktoberfest spokesman Dan Escamilla said.

He was hospitalized in “rough shape,” with second- and third-degree burns to 38% of his body, Escamilla told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Bischoff had evacuated the dining area about 40 minutes before the blast, after noticing an odd smell from the area of the vaults, he said.

“He`s a hero,” Escamilla said, adding that more people could have been hurt if the dining area had been full.

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