Chabad of Santa Monica: No Attack Here
An explosion Thursday next to the Chabad House in Santa Monica, California was caused by construction combustibles in a dumpster, the local Chabd wesite said.
Santa Monica police said that about 100 people had been evacuated from nearby homes as bomb experts investigated the incident, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
No injuries have been reported and there's no immediate word on the extent of damage.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Marty Fine said reports indicated a device hit the roof of a building and exploded at about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. TV reports showed a hole in the roof of a home and a long cylinder poking through it.
Fine said, initially, there was no indication of what caused the explosion.
FBI and Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb experts were on the scene and a four-block perimeter was set up.
"It’s pretty sensitive when it’s next door to a synagogue," Capt. Judah Mitchell of the Santa Monica Fire Department said of the FBI's presence.
Mitchell cautioned against undue alarm, however, adding, "At this time they don’t consider it a hate crime."
The Chabad of Santa Monica website took issue, however, with media reports that the explosion occured inside the center or that an explosive device was involved.
"In response to news reports of a pipe bomb in our facility," the webiste says. "During morning services today the police department came to Chabad House in response to a report of an explosion. The men that were praying did not hear or feel anything. Rabbi Levitansky grabbed one of the new Torah scrolls so they [could] finish services. Which they did at the corner of 17th and S. Monica."
"The explosion was from a dumpster where someone trashed some construction combustibles," the website explained. "It exploded and landed on our neighbor's roof. We do not know who placed the construction trash there."
A police spokesperson has since attributed the blast to "mechanical failure."