Transformer Explodes at Santa Monica Apartment Building

Witnesses reported seeing fireballs and hearing a "loud pop"

By Christina Cocca
|  Friday, May 16, 2014  |  Updated 8:36 AM PDT
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Several residents of a Santa Monica apartment building that caught fire Thursday night were unable to come home Friday morning. The fire, which was caused by an exploding transformer, left the top floor red tagged and one person injured. Kate Larsen reports live from Santa Monica for Today in LA on Friday, May 16, 2014.

Several residents of a Santa Monica apartment building that caught fire Thursday night were unable to come home Friday morning. The fire, which was caused by an exploding transformer, left the top floor red tagged and one person injured. Kate Larsen reports live from Santa Monica for Today in LA on Friday, May 16, 2014.

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Transformer Explodes at Santa Monica Apartment Building

A transformer explosion damaged several apartments after erupting into flames and sending residents into the street in Santa Monica. Meghan Reyes reports from NewsChopper4 reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014.
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Dozens of Santa Monica residents were unable to enter their home Friday morning after a transformer explosion damaged a Santa Monica apartment complex  and left one person injured Thursday night, police said.

The apartment building in the 800 block of Ocean Boulevard erupted into flames around 10:45 p.m. after a transformer blew, according to the Santa Monica Police Department. The blaze was knocked down just before 11:30 p.m.

The top floor of the apartment complex was red tagged and residents were not able to enter their home as of 5 a.m. Friday as crews worked to clean up fire, smoke and water damage.

A witness reported hearing a loud pop and seeing fireballs when the fire broke out.

"I thought a bomb went off," witness Alicia told NBC4. "The fire plumes were huge. It's smoking like crazy."

One woman suffered smoke inhalation. At least four apartments were damaged, police said.

Earlier reports suggested the explosion was at the Oceana Beach Club Hotel, but police later clarified the apartment building was near the hotel.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

NBC4's Jack Noyes, Pablo Kay and Kate Larsen contributed to this report.

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