After fireworks explode in street, shaken and angry residents question LAPD actions


Residents in a southern Los Angeles neighborhood were demanding answers Thursday after a fireworks seizure from the Los Angeles Police Department ended in a massive explosion that injured 17 people and damaged homes and cars.

Observing the scene was Marta Elba, 61, who had walked from her home at Griffith Avenue and 28th Street to ask police how she could be reimbursed for a broken window caused by the explosion.

Elba said the police told her she had to call her insurance company. She said she didn’t understand why, if the damage was caused by the police.

“The damage was caused by them,” she said, nodding towards the site of the explosion. “The problem was there.”

Elba, who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, said she was at home showering when she felt her house shake as if an earthquake had struck and heard what sounded like a very blast. strong. She ran outside where the neighbors had gathered. “We were all trying to figure out what had happened,” she said.

At home Thursday afternoon, she was standing next to her house where the window had been shattered. Broken glass remained on one panel and the rest had been swept away.

Juan Pena, who also lives in the house, said the explosion made it look like a large bomb had gone off.

He said he still had to check the rest of the house for any other damage. “I don’t think they should have tried to detonate here,” Elba said.

“The city has to take responsibility for all of this,” Pena added.

The explosion occurred on Wednesday inside a special LAPD semi-truck that had been used to safely contain and detonate fireworks and other explosives.

The truck was parked in front of a house in a residential area where the fireworks were found. The police and residents were in the area at the time.

An LAPD demining team transferred some of the improvised devices to the truck’s iron chamber, which, with its outer containment shell, was designed to withstand an explosive force greater than the amount placed inside, a said Police Chief Michel Moore.

Police detonated some of the devices at 7:37 p.m., believing the vehicle would be able to contain the blast, but there was a “total catastrophic failure of this containment vehicle,” Moore said.

“Obviously the protocols were followed and continued, but something happened in this containment vehicle that shouldn’t have happened and we don’t know why,” the chief said. “We intend to find out why.”

Moore promised a full review of the incident that would take into account the age of the containment vehicle and its history, as well as the potency of the improvised explosives.

Pena and Elba said they know the family who live in front of the house where the fireworks were discovered. They said family members were at home and suffered cuts to their faces from broken glass. They said the family was staying in a hotel and family members were still recovering from their injuries.

Pena said he wanted to know what was wrong.

About six houses away, Celeste Garcia, 25, sat outside her apartment complex. She said the explosion rocked her apartment building and destroyed a painting and decorations.

“It looked like a big earthquake,” she said. “You could hear the explosion. Honestly, I thought a bomb went off.

Garcia said his aunt who was outside said she felt a gust of air coming from the blast.

Two doors away, Louis Price, 53, said he felt the same gust. He said he was working on a friend’s car when he heard the explosion accompanied by broken glass. “I dodged,” he said. “It’s what you do because you never know when the next one is coming.”

He said a window to the apartment complex broke due to the explosion. He heard that the windows of other buildings were also smashed.

“Why haven’t they done this elsewhere?” ” he said. “Why didn’t they dilute the explosives and move them elsewhere? “

When the explosion happened, he said, he thought maybe it was a terrorist attack because he had never heard such a loud explosion before.

“It takes a lot for a building to shake,” he said.

He said he was happy that no one was killed despite the damage and fear of residents.

On Thursday, Valeria Guerrero opened a GoFundMe account for her loved ones affected by the explosion. She said that several members of her family were injured and hospitalized, and that they were displaced because the house had a red tag and their vehicles were damaged.

“Our family home and our means of transportation were completely disrupted, and without these basic things, they lost their livelihoods,” she wrote.

In the post, she included photos of a family member in a hospital bed with cuts to his face. Other photos show the family’s damaged home and vehicles with shattered windows and bent metal, including a car overturned in the explosion.

The family is in the process of finding temporary accommodation.

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