A major explosion took place in Los Angeles on Wednesday after Los Angeles Police Department’s Bomb Squad officers seized 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks and were in the process of transporting them when the fireworks exploded for an unknown reason. At least 17 people were injured, including 11 cops.
“Our Bomb Squad officers were in the process of seizing over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in the area of 27th Street and San Pedro. Some of the fireworks were being stored in our Bomb Squad trailer as a precautionary measure. Unknown at this time what caused an explosion,” LAPD said in a public statement along with a short video clip of the explosion.
“There are PIOs at scene and this is an ongoing situation in which the area will be impacted for hours due to evacuations, rendering the location safe, and investigation. Updates will be provided as they become available,” LAPD added.
Of the 17 victims reported injured were 10 LAPD officers, one Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) officer, and six civilians — all were hospitalized except one LAPD officer, local CBS-LA reported.
Although LAPD said the cause of the explosion was unknown, some unconfirmed reports say bomb squad officers intentionally detonated the fireworks.
Additional video from news helicopters showed the explosion from other angles.
A stationary news camera on the ground near the explosion also captured it on video.
A witness near the scene also captured dangerously ground footage at the time of the explosion.
Reports say at least 17 people were injured in the explosion, which sent debris flying into nearby cars and buildings. Video in the aftermath of the explosion shows injured victims being transported to ambulances.
LAPD officers had seized the 5,000 pounds of “commercial-grade fireworks” from a home in the 700 block of 27th Street, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters. He attributed the explosion to a “catastrophic” failure.
LAPD had just concluded an anonymous fireworks buyback event in Mission Hills, Calif. in which the public was encouraged to turn in their illegal fireworks to “receive a free gift” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
LAPD had promoted the event in a tweet on Tuesday, calling on the public to “be safe, help prevent fires during a dry & bad fire season” and “be considerate of our neighbors, veterans with PTSD, and pets.”
Fireworks are illegal in Los Angeles and the city has been cracking down in the weeks ahead of Independence Day.
One video LAPD posted June 18 called on the community to do its part in protecting “children sensitive to the stress caused by fireworks.”