On Wednesday evening LAPD bomb squad officers were in the process of seizing more than 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks at a home in the 700 block of 27th Street in South Los Angeles, where selling and owning them are not permitted. Some of those fireworks were being stored in the department’s armored trailer. An explosion occurred inside as controlled detonation but something was wrong. It was an enormous blast. Its force destroyed the department’s armored truck, injured 17 people including nine police officers and required the evacuation of nearby homes. The armored container device, which can weigh as much as one ton, was blasted two blocks to the east and smashed part of a roof before landing in the dirt behind the home. The explosion also wrecked nearby cars and damaged homes. Neighbors described the explosion as “a really hard earthquake.”Three of the civilians suffered serious injuries. None of the other injuries are believed to be life threatening, according to authorities. Those hospitalized included 11 men and five women, all ranging in age between 42 and 85.
“Clearly, protocols were followed and pursued. But something happened in that containment vessel that should not have happened and we don’t know why,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said during the press conference. “We will prosecute those who use or possess (illegal fireworks) to the fullest extent of the law, he added.”A 27-year-old resident, Arturo Cejas, was arrested. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement Wednesday night that he was “closely monitoring the situation.”