LAPD accidentally blows up neighborhood during botched fireworks seizure

July 2, 2021


17 people were injured in South Los Angeles on Wednesday evening when an LAPD bomb squad attempted to safely detonate about 5,000 pounds of seized illegal fireworks and their containment vehicle ended up exploding.

Police detonated the devices at 7:37 p.m., believing that the vehicle would be able to contain the explosion, but there was a "total catastrophic failure of that containment vehicle," Moore 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," the chief said. "We intend to find out why."

Officers arrested Arturo Cejas III, a man in his 20s who resided at the home with the fireworks, on suspicion of reckless or malicious possession of a destructive device. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

Moore said that the explosive material was acquired from out of state for the purpose of being sold to community members for the Fourth of July. He said that officials found Cejas' 10-year-old brother at the scene and will be pursuing child endangerment charges as well for the risk he faced from the explosives that had been stored at the home.

This is one of those times it'd be easy to say something like "clearly the illegal fireworks were in safer hands with the criminals than with the LAPD" but then you remember the time an illegal stockpile accidentally exploded in a neighborhood and killed a bunch of people. So the moral of the story seems to be that nobody can be trusted to safely handle illegal fireworks except for 10-year-olds and the cast of Jackass.

Keep going for video of multiple angles of the incident.

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