One woman was killed and three other people were injured when an explosion ripped through the first floor of a California office building Tuesday afternoon, forcing evacuations and prompting a large response from emergency workers.
Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, called the blast suspicious but would not comment further about what specifically had caused it.
The authorities, she said late Tuesday, were “still trying to determine whether the explosion was accidental or intentional.”
Just after 1 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters were called to the two-story office building at 11 Mareblu in Aliso Viejo, California, a city about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, said Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority.
Pictures from the scene show that the blast, on the building’s first floor, blew out some brick walls and windows, spewing debris across the roadway and onto a nearby parking lot.
Firefighters put out a small fire and found one woman dead inside the building, authorities said. They had not released her name as of late Tuesday night.
Of the three people who were injured, Braun said, two suffered “significant” injuries while the third complained of smoke inhalation. All were taken to a hospital, she added. Bommarito said all three were expected to survive.
At a news conference late Tuesday, Paul D. Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said his agency was working with the sheriff’s department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the blast.
The explosion, in a normally tranquil South Orange County city, prompted the evacuation of nearby businesses and a school filled with children, officials said.
“Explosions,” Bommarito told the local station CBS2, “are not a common occurrence.”
Braun said authorities had declared the scene safe around 8 p.m.
She noted that the building has several medical offices, but said that investigators were still trying to determine what the office where the explosion occurred was used for.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.