(UPDATED AT 11:24 a.m.): Evacuees are returning to their residences and workplaces.
(UPDATED AT 11:23 a.m.): An aide for the Homeland Security Department contacted the Santa Monica Fire Department after learning about the incident, Santa Monica Patch has learned. It is unclear if the call was made before or after it was determined that the explosion was not caused by a bomb.
(UPDATED AT 11:19 a.m.): The explosion that took place this morning was due to mechanical failure—not a bomb, SMPD community-relations representative Lauralee Asch tells Santa Monica Patch.
"It was not a bomb, it was not an intentional act," she said, adding that an incendiary device was not involved.
Asch added that the police got confirmation that it was not a bomb after 11 a.m.
(UPDATED AT 11 a.m.): The Chabad House is an Orthodox synagogue that opened in 1970. It features after-school programs for boys and girls, as well as field trips, groups and other events.
Levitansky said there were no children at the school when the congregants were evacuated.
The Chabad House also offers programs for adult learning, and has a library on site.
(UPDATED AT 10:56 a.m.): The explosion occurred at the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica, not the Santa Monica Synagogue, as previously reported. The Chabad House is located at 1428 17th St.; the Santa Monica Synagogue is at 1448 18th St.
Rabbi Isaac Levitansky told Santa Monica Patch on Thursday morning that he wasn't sure if the bomb was intended for the synagogue, or what the motivation for planting it may have been if it was.
"We didn't hear anything" when the bomb exploded, he said. "We were in the middle of morning prayers. Thank God everyone was OK."
Levitansky said the prayers continued outside after the congregants were evacuated. He also said services—including a Seder dinner and other Passover-related events from Apr. 18 to 19—will not be disrupted.
"We will continue to put on services as normal," he said.
(UPDATED AT 10:39 a.m.): The explosion occurred around 6:45 a.m., not 8:30 a.m., according to City News Service. The news service also reports that the explosion may have been caused by a pipe bomb.
(UPDATED AT 10:36 a.m.): At least one individual is working inside the synagogue. The individual told Santa Monica Patch they were aware that a bomb threat had taken place, but they did not know that the explosion had occurred.
Rabbi Jeffrey Marx, who is the spiritual leader at the synagogue, was not available for immediate comment.
The Santa Monica Synagogue, which opened in 1981, has a congregation of more than 250 families. It also contains a religious school for all ages.
The synagogue is a member of the Union of Reform Judaism. The congregation also takes its legacy from Susice, Czechoslovakia where many of its members and descendants hail. The community is motivated by tikun olam (repairing the world) and local efforts are geared toward this goal.
Rabbi Marx has been the spiritual leader and teacher at the institution since 1985. The synagogue has day and evening programming. Classes range from the kindergarten to the adult level. The synagogue also offers many special education programs.
(UPDATED AT 10:21 a.m.): An explosion took place in the parking lot of the on Thursday morning, Santa Monica Fire Chief Capt. Judah Mitchell tells Santa Monica Patch.
No one was injured in the incident, which occurred around 8:30 a.m., he said.
"We don't know what kind of bomb or explosion it was," Mitchell said.
A four-block radius near the synagogue has been evacuated.
Officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene around 9:15 a.m.. They are investigating the incident.
"It will probably be investigated as a hate crime," Mitchell said.
(UPDATED AT 10:08 a.m.): A suspicious package was reported near 15th and Broadway, an officer with the SMPD tells Santa Monica Patch. Multiple police helicopters are hovering over the area. Broadway is blocked off from 15th St. eastward for multiple blocks.
A bomb was reported Thursday morning on 11th St. between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd., a sergeant has confirmed to Santa Monica Patch.
Area residents have been evacuated. They are being relocated to the , according to the , which is providing canteen services at the location.
More on the synagogue blast: