Bomb techs erred in South Los Angeles explosion, says city police department chief
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Five members of LAPD's bomb squad have been removed from duty, said Moore.
On June 30, LAPD officers discovered a cache of over 32 thousand lb (14,500 kg) of illegal fireworks at a South L.A. residence. Bomb disposal technicians responded by placing an estimated 16.5 lb (7.5 kg) of explosives, into a "total containment vessel", or TCV, where they detonated the material. According to the(ATF), technicians actually detonated 42 lb (19 kg) of explosives. The vehicle failed to contain the explosion and the blast injured seventeen people and damaged thirteen nearby businesses, 22 residences, and 37 vehicles.
The TCV's capacity was 15 lb (6.8 kg) for repeated use, or 25 lb (11 kg) for single use, according to Moore. The containment truck had been used by officials for ten years, with the June 30 blast its 42nd usage.
ATF special agents are also investigating the LAPD's actions. They expect to complete their investigation in the next one to two months.
The owner of the home where the fireworks were discovered, 26-year-old Arturo Ceja III, was arrested by LAPD and apprehended on suspicion of unlawful possession of destructive devices and child endangerment. Fireworks are illegal to possess in the City of L.A., and in unincorporated areas of US$500 thousand bail for release. He is due back in state court in October.. Ceja posted the
Federal prosecutors charged Ceja III with the illegal transportation of explosives without a license. Prosecutors allege that Ceja III purchased the fireworks from Area 51, a fireworks dealer in Nevada, on the border with California. He was released on US$25 thousand bond pending arraignment, scheduled for August 2.,
L.A. Councilmembercriticized the LAPD's bomb squad in a statement saying, "[i]t's clear there was negligence involved and this instance shows zero regard for the people that reside in our South LA community. Every individual that I have talked to including myself wonder if this would have been acceptable protocol in more affluent areas of the City."
The city opened a resource center for affected residents at theon East 28th Street, where residents can file claims against the city and receive referrals to mental health services.
On Tuesday L.A. City Attorneysaid his office received 56 claims against the city, saying, "We're trying to speed this up as much as we can [...] this is an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure that anybody who suffered because of that explosion gets relief as fast as possible, because they deserve it".
Callers to Tuesday's
- BLM, others call for firing of LAPD chief over South LA explosion" — , July 20, 2021. "
- Stefanie Dazio (AP). "Chief: Bomb squad caused Los Angeles fireworks explosion" — , July 19, 2021
- Sid Garcia. "South LA Fireworks Blast: Explosive Material Exceeded Capacity of Containment Truck, LAPD Says" — , July 19, 2021
- Nouran Salahieh and Gene Kang. "‘Apparent miscalculation’ suspected in LAPD fireworks explosion in South L.A.: Preliminary investigation" — , July 19, 2021
- South LA man linked to massive fireworks blast granted bond" — , July 6, 2021. "
- Curren Price. "Curren D. Price, Jr. on Twitter" — , July 3, 2021
- Press Release: "Man Arrested on Charge of Illegally Transporting Fireworks, Including Homemade Devices that Caused Huge Explosion in South L.A." — , July 3, 2021