A stockpile of illegal fireworks detonated following attempts by the Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad to destroy the explosives.
The force of the blast destroyed the department’s armored truck, injured 17 people and required homes nearby to be evacuated. In a news conference late Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said authorities responded to the home, where they found thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks, as well as improvised explosive devices, described as “more unstable.” A suspect was arrested in connection to the items seized at the home, police said.
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The LAPD bomb squad transferred the improvised devices into a containment vehicle, and detonated them, believing it would contain the blast, which overturned a car and shattered windows in the neighborhood, Moore said. Seconds before things went haywire, officers on the ground quickly backed away from the squad trailer. According to CBSLA, the officer then screamed, “Fire in the hole!”
The LAPD, however, in a statement posted to Twitter, said the cause of the blast was unclear. “Some of the fireworks were being stored in our Bomb Squad trailer as a precautionary measure. Unknown at this time what caused an explosion,” the department said.