No bomb in minor blast near LA area synagogue: police

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police investigating a blast near a Los Angeles-area synagogue on Thursday said it was caused by a mechanical failure, not a pipe bomb as they had originally thought.

There were no reports of damage or injury from the 6:45 a.m. blast, not far from Chabad House in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, but residents and businesses in a roughly two-block area were evacuated, police said.

The cause of the blast turned out to be some type of mechanical failure that sent a post embedded in the ground flying onto the roof of an apartment building next to the synagogue, said Santa Monica police Sergeant Jay Trisler.

Earlier in the morning, when it appeared some type of bomb had gone off, FBI investigators and bomb technicians responded to the scene, spokeswoman Lourdes Orocho told Reuters, along with Los Angeles police.

Chabad House posted a statement on its website about the incident, which downplayed concerns.

“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,” the statement said.

“Rabbi Levitansky grabbed (one) of the new Torah scrolls so they can finish services” at a nearby location, the statement said.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Jerry Norton)

No bomb in minor blast near LA area synagogue: police