Huntington Beach restaurant owner sues SoCal Edison over Oktoberfest explosions, alleging utility created a ‘death trap’

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Bernie Bischof is seen in an undated photo provided by his family. On the right, crews clean up the aftermath of an explosion that rattled an Oktoberfest celebration at Huntington Beach. (Credit: KTLA)

Bernie Bischof is seen in an undated photo provided by his family. On the right, crews clean up the aftermath of an explosion that rattled an Oktoberfest celebration at Huntington Beach. (Credit: KTLA)

A Huntington Beach restaurant owner who was among five injured when an underground transformer exploded during an Oktoberfest celebration last year is suing Southern California Edison.

Flames shot into the sky from the blasts that blew a vault door off its hinges and knocked people to the ground at Old World Village in Huntington Beach.

Bernie Bischof, the owner of Old World restaurant, suffered serious burns and brain damage, according to a negligence lawsuit filed this week. The court filing accuses Edison of failing to properly maintain the transformers, creating a “death trap” that nearly killed him when the explosions erupted.

Bischof had evacuated a patio area before the initial blast after noticing an odd smell from the vaults.

“Our thoughts go out to Mr. Bischof and his family. While Southern California Edison is aware of the lawsuit filed by Mr. Bischof in relation to the incident that took place in October 2019 in Huntington Beach, SCE cannot discuss the specifics of pending litigation,” the utility said in a statement.

Bischof, 60, suffered burns over nearly half of his body and required multiple skin graft procedures to repair damaged tissue, according to the filings.

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