Montebello Fire Disrupts Traffic, Causes Power Outage

By Carlos Alvarez, EGP Staff Reporter

Oilers Barbershop owner Armen Bagramryan told EGP that he heard a loud explosion sometime after midnight Tuesday night, but didn’t think anything of it until he started telephone receiving calls from relatives and friends. That’s when he says he learned an explosion had occurred at Seidner’s Collision Center, the auto shop located next to his barbershop.

“It was a loud noise, but nothing that alarmed me,” he said of his initial reaction.

When the calls started coming in, “I got off the phone and rushed to my barbershop,” said Bagramryan, who lives about three blocks away near the Beverly Hospital. “Police had the streets blocked off,” and he couldn’t get anywhere near his shop, he said.

The explosion at the two-story shop was reported around 12:30 a.m. in the 300 block of Whittier Boulevard, according to the Montebello Fire Department. Several people reported hearing loud explosions, fire officials said.

When firefighters arrived, they found the building engulfed in flames and “a power line exploding,” ABC 7 News reported. Power had to be cut to hundreds of residents, according to the fire department.

A two-alarm fire overnight Tuesday at an auto repair shop in Montebello, destroyed cars at the shop and forced the closure of the 300 block of Whittier Boulevard for several hours. (EGP photo by Carlos Alvarez)

A two-alarm fire overnight Tuesday at an auto repair shop in Montebello, destroyed cars at the shop and forced the closure of the 300 block of Whittier Boulevard for several hours. (EGP photo by Carlos Alvarez)

Several nearby residents were temporarily evacuated, according to news reports.

Whittier Boulevard was closed down for several hours between 3rd Street and 4th Street as firefighters worked to put down the heavy flames, fueled by chemicals used by the business. The back of the structure collapsed and several cars in the structure were completely destroyed.

Expecting the worst, Bagramryan told EGP he was relieved to find that the only issue at his barbershop was that there was no power.

About 160 customers lost power, according to Southern California Edison, which expected to have power fully restored by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Bagramryan opened his barbershop about two years ago and told EGP that this is the second time in as many weeks that fire has caused him to worry. He said he was never able to find out the cause of that fire, just three building down from his location.

The cause of auto-shop fire was not immediately known, fire officials said. It’s still under investigation.

No injuries were reported.

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August 23, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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