Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Aliso Viejo blast: Mystery explosion kills woman in Orange County California

Aliso Viejo blast: Mystery explosion kills woman in Orange County California

Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said the "working theory is this explosion was caused by a device", and he reiterated that investigators "do not believe this was an accident".

Authorities on Wednesday are working to determine whether a deadly explosion that took place at a medical office building in Aliso Viejo the previous afternoon was intentional.

Investigators said they hadn't yet located an explosive device and were searching through debris.

The officials were briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Along with the FBI, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting the sheriff's department bomb squad and an Orange County Fire Authority hazmat team with the investigation.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Dave Sawyer said Tuesday night that the size of the explosion makes it suspicious. She and the three injured people were likely close to the explosion, Sawyer said.

The explosion at the office building in Aliso Viejo - about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Los Angeles - blew siding off the walls, exposing insulation and framing.

A woman who was on her way to an appointment in the area told CBS2 she arrived just after the blast occurred, and she saw fire on the roof of the building.

Bommarito said one of the injured people suffered from smoke inhalation. Although investigators and FBI are still determining the cause of the blast, officials have announced the threat is over. Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Orange County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff Don Barnes identified the victim as Ildiko Krajnyak-Vestil of Trabuco Canyon.

Barnes said an explosive device went off inside the day spa shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday. Some witnesses said they initially thought it was an quake but soon realized it was some type of explosion as smoke filled the area.

Stephanie Montessi is tearfully reunited with her daughter Madison, 1, who was evacuated from Academy on the Hill preschool after a nearby explosion.

McWilliams says she saw two women covered in ash and soot stagger out of the building. The other woman was bleeding from her head.

"Despite media reports quoting unnamed sources, we have not confirmed that the explosion is intentional, nor have we conclusively identified the source of the explosion".

He would not say whether the woman killed had been specifically targeted.

Authorities say a deadly explosion at a Southern California office building is being investigated as a crime and the woman killed is believed to be the owner of the business. The cause of the blast is being investigated.

He urged anyone who might have information about the blast to call a hotline at (800) CALL-FBI, or (800) 225-5324. Officials said no children were injured.

Little children holding hands and others being pushed in rolling cribs were led by firefighters to a Target parking lot to be united with parents.

Nothing indicates there were any threats made before the blast, which appeared to be concentrated in a suite on the first floor of the building, Sawyer said. The cause of the blast was being investigated.

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