Bomb squad truck carrying illegal fireworks explodes in South Los Angeles in the US, 17 people hurt
A bomb squad truck carrying confiscated illegal fireworks exploded unexpectedly as Police in Los Angeles, US, were trying to dispose of the fireworks safely. The explosion blew out windows and destroyed nearby cars in a South Los Angeles neighbourhood on Wednesday night, 30 June 2021. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the explosion happened in the 700 block of East 27th Street a little after 19h30. The explosion left a total of 17 people hurt, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Of the 17 people hurt, 16 were taken to the hospital with one declining the option of being transported.
During a press conference late Wednesday night, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the explosion was a detonation but "something happened that should not have happened."
Below is a breakdown of the 17 people hurt:
Three of the six civilians are being treated for "moderate injuries," LAFD said. The other three are being treated for minor injuries, LAFD said. All nine police officers and the one ATF agent all suffered minor injuries, fire fighters say.
Up to nine families in the neighbourhood are displaced from their homes after the explosion.
In a late-night press conference, LAPD Chief Michel Moore and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said they moved to confiscate the illegal commercial-grade fireworks from Cejas' home and worked all day to clear them and move them to an offsite location.
They then came across approximately 40 Coca-Cola can-sized improvised explosive devices with fuses and 200 additional smaller devices with similar construction.
That material was transferred into a multi-ton containment vehicle with an iron chamber inside that is designed to house explosive material that can be safely detonated.
Before the boom: Illegal fireworks confiscated from South the Los Angeles home
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Police Department had seized roughly 5 000 pounds of illegal fireworks from a home in South Los Angeles.
Investigators and bomb squad officials responded to a home near 27th and San Pedro Wednesday afternoon. Images from SkyFOX show several boxes stacked on each other. A forklift was also seen carrying dozens of boxes out of the house. A suspect, later identified as 27-year-old Arturo Cejas, was taken into custody. He was charged with possession of destructive device, LAPD's Chief Moore said. Cejas' 10-year-old brother was also living inside the house where Cejas kept the illegal fireworks. Moore said Cejas is expected to face child endangerment charges.
LAPD officials say they were notified of the house after receiving a tip from a community member.
Sources: Fox 11, ABC News