South LA Fireworks Explosion Review Expected Soon – NBC Los Angeles


The investigative report that’s expected to explain how members of an LAPD bomb squad caused a massive explosion on a residential street in South Los Angeles should be completed in the next few weeks, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives had initially said its findings would be ready by the end of August. Moore told the LA Police Commission Tuesday the ATF now anticipates the investigation may take several additional weeks to finish.

“I met yesterday with the special agent in charge [Monique] Villegas from the ATF,” Moore said. “It is expected to be done within the next two to four weeks.”

Moore said he also anticipated that the LAPD’s internal review of the bomb squad’s decisions and actions June 30 would be completed around the same time. Those findings could lead to disciplinary action against the officers involved. 

In July Moore said human error likely contributed to the explosion after bomb squad officers underestimating the explosive power of material placed into a containment truck for what was supposed to be a controlled detonation.

Photos: Powerful Blast During Illegal Fireworks Bust Rattles South LA Neighborhood

The LAPD truck, called a Total Containment Vessel, was destroyed in the explosion that also flung huge pieces of metal and debris for blocks around.

The blast on East 27th Street sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles. Since the explosion, some of the residents who were forced to evacuate their homes have been provided with access to housing, funds needed to satisfy their basic needs like clothing, as well as three meals a day.

Moore told the Commission Tuesday he toured the site and met with four of the affected families. He said the police department was working with other city agencies to try to expedite repairs and services for the people who live there.

Authorities have said about 32,000 pounds of fireworks were being stored at one of the homes on East 27th Street, where they were also allegedly being sold. 
That home’s resident, Arturo Ceja III, 27, faces federal charges of illegally transporting tons of explosives.

In a court filing prosecutors alleged Ceja purchased most of the explosives from a dealer in Pahrump, Nevada.



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