The LAPD tried to safely detonate 5,000lbs of illegal fireworks – and video captured it going very wrong

<p>A massive explosion injured at least 17 people.</p>

A massive explosion injured at least 17 people.

Photo Credit: KCAL9/CBSLA

A massive explosion injured at least 17 people after the LAPD attempted to safely detonate explosives and fireworks that had been seized from a South Los Angeles home.

The blast, which occurred on June 30 at about 7:30pm in the historic Los Angeles neighbourhood of South Central, injured ten law enforcement officials — including one federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent — as well as seven bystanders, six of whom were taken to a nearby hospital. Eight or nine families were displaced as a result of the explosion, per LA Daily News.

“It felt like a really hard earthquake like we never felt before,” Jazmin Vazquez, a South Central resident, told CBS Los Angeles. “We were surprised so we ran out. It sounded like an explosion but really close to our family.””

The explosion was technically intentional, but clearly didn’t go the way the LAPD had expected. A bomb squad had prepared to safety detonate several the explosives, inclusing several home-made “improvised explosive devices” and approximately 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, inside of the iron chamber of a semi-truck specifically intended to contain explosions of the sort. However, once detonated, the vessel failed to perform its job.

In a press conference, LAPD Chief Michel Moore addressed the mishap. “This vessel should have been able to safely dispose of that material. And you saw the resulting damage, and the total catastrophic failure of that containment vehicle,” he said.

“Clearly protocols were followed and pursued, but something happened in that containment vehicle that should have not happened and we don’t know why. We intend to find out why,” he added.

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, took to Twitter to respond to the incident as well.

“I am closely monitoring the situation at 27th and San Pedro and am deeply concerned for those who were injured. @LAPDHQ and our Crisis Response Team continue to survey the neighborhood for more injuries and make sure the area is safe,” the mayor wrote wrote. “I’ve directed the LAPD to conduct a full investigation into this incident, so we can better understand why this happened.”

“Illegal fireworks pose a great danger and can cost lives. We will prosecute those who use or possess them to the fullest extent of the law,” he continued.

However Twitter users weren’t really having it, seeing as the police department was technically responsible for the explosion.

May this be a lesson to all: Don’t play with illegal fireworks.

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