Bomb squad truck carrying illegal fireworks explodes in South LA, 17 people hurt
LOS ANGELES - A bomb squad truck carrying confiscated illegal fireworks exploded unexpectedly, blowing out windows and destroying nearby cars in a South Los Angeles neighborhood Wednesday night.
FOR UPDATES TO THIS STORY, CLICK HERE: 17 injured in police detonation of illegal fireworks in South LA
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the explosion happened in the 700 block of East 27th Street a little after 7:30 p.m. 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.
Below is a breakdown of the 17 people hurt:
- 9 LAPD officers
- 6 civilians
- 1 ATF agent
- 1 refused to be taken to the hospital
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, firefighters say.
Up to nine families in the neighborhood are displaced from their homes after the explosion.
FOX 11's crews were on scene when the semi-truck burst into flames and rocked the South Los Angeles neighborhood.
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."
Before the Boom: Illegal fireworks confiscated from South LA 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.
As Fourth of July nears, fire officials and law enforcement agencies are cracking down on the use of illegal fireworks.
Los Angeles hosted its first fireworks buyback program Wednesday, modeled after its gun buyback program, in an effort to reduce illegal fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend, particularly in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
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