At Least 17 Injured After LAPD Explodes 5,000 Pounds Worth Of Illegal Fireworks
At least 17 people, including police and bystanders, have been injured in Los Angeles after thousands of pounds worth of illegal fireworks exploded.
The ‘major’ blast took place yesterday, June 30, at around 7.30pm local time. Around 5,000lb of fireworks and explosives were seized from a home in the Historic South-Central neighbourhood earlier in the day.
The LAPD’s bomb squad was preparing to safely detonate some of the explosives in a vehicle designed to withstand such force, along with the fireworks – however, it ended in catastrophic damage to the containment vehicle and surrounding injuries.
Nine LAPD officers and a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent suffered minor injuries, as per NBC News. Three civilians in the area suffered moderate injuries, three others suffered minor injuries, and one person was treated at the scene of the blast but was not taken to hospital.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said: ‘This vessel should have been able to safely dispose of that material. And you saw the resulting damage, and the total catastrophic failure of that containment vehicle… clearly protocols were followed and pursued, but something happened in that containment vehicle that should have not happened and we don’t know why. We intend to find out why.’
Paul Sanchez, a KTLA photojournalist who was filming the vehicle at the time of the explosion, told the Los Angeles Times: ‘It didn’t knock me to the ground, but it was almost like someone had thrown a football-style block.’
At first, his hearing wasn’t coming back, ‘which sent me into a panic… my reporter was talking to me and it just sounded like he was one of the parents from the Peanuts cartoons, combined with a ringing in my ears.’ Sanchez has since recovered and can hear fine again.
A 27-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of reckless or malicious possession of a destructive device, with the possibility of extra charges of child endangerment due to his 10-year-old brother staying at home with him, the chief said.
L.A mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: ‘I’ve directed the LAPD to conduct a full investigation into this incident, so we can better understand why this happened. Illegal fireworks pose a great danger and can cost lives. We will prosecute those who use or possess them to the fullest extent of the law.’
Moore said the LAPD will be reviewing the actions taken by officers to see ‘what we can do to avoid this type of circumstance from ever happening again.’
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