Homes are damaged and 17 people are injured after Los Angeles Police detonated a stash of illegal fireworks on a city street Wednesday night. During a press conference, Police Chief Michel Moore said that his officers believed they could safely trigger the explosives inside a containment vehicle, but that they were “more unstable” than originally thought and there was a total catastrophic failure of that containment vehicle.
According to the Los Angeles Times, police were responding to a tip from a concerned neighbor about a resident storing boxes of fireworks. When inspecting the home, LAPD discovered palettes of fireworks the owner had purchased out of state and had planned to sell for Fourth of July celebrations. There were so many boxes, around 5,000 pounds of the stuff, that police had to use pallets and forklifts to move it all to a bomb disposal vehicle.
The containment vehicle is a semi-truck with an iron chamber that’s built to withstand blasts. The cops set off the explosives at 7:37PM and the explosion destroyed the semi-truck, blew out the windows of the nearby homes, sent residents to the hospital, and triggered the response of 75 firefighters.
“Clearly protocols were followed and pursued, but something happened in that containment vehicle that should have not happened and we don’t know why,” Moore said during his press conference. “We intend to find out why.”
During a press conference, Moore said that the LAPD had found improvised explosive devices stored with the fireworks. According to the cops, there were around 240 of these devices, roughly the size of a soda can or smaller.
The aftermath of the explosion sent residents to the hospitals. According to the Los Angeles Times, eight or nine family homes were so badly damaged residents had to leave. The man who housed the fireworks has been arrested on suspicion of reckless or malicious possession of a destructive device and is being held on a $500,000 bail.