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    4 LAPD bomb squad members disciplined for botched fireworks explosion, police chief says
    • July 2, 2023

    Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced on Sunday, July 2, that four members of the department’s bomb squad were disciplined for their involvement in a botched detonation of illegal fireworks in a South Los Angeles neighborhood two years ago.

    Additionally, an internal Los Angeles Police Department investigation resulted in the implementation of new protocols for the bomb squad to prevent any similar events from occurring in the future, Moore said in a statement on the LAPD site.

    The June 30, 2021 controlled detonation on East 27th Street near San Pedro Street sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

    The bomb squad erred when estimating by sight the amount of explosives contained in a cache of homemade fireworks that they then placed inside a containment vessel to detonate, federal investigators said in a report after the explosion.

    Some of the bomb squad members also appeared to not know what the actual rated explosive capacity was for the vessel they had been using since 2008, according to a summary of interviews they did with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives.

    “Work to stabilize and repair 27th Street began immediately following the 2021 fireworks disposal explosion,” Moore said in his statement on Sunday. “While our work in the community was underway, the Department also invested in a top to bottom internal review and implemented significant corrections.

    “A full investigation was conducted which examined the actions of the personnel on scene that day, and also conducted an in-depth review of the practices and protocols of the Bomb Squad. As a result of this investigation, four Bomb Squad personnel were subject to Departmental discipline based on their involvement in this incident. Additionally, this review resulted in the implementation of new protocols for the Bomb Squad to prevent any similar events from occurring in the future, and to ensure the safety of both community members and officers,” the statement said.

    It continued, “Even our best intentions cannot take this neighborhood back to where it was before this event occurred,” Moore continued. “However, as a Department, we remain committed to supporting the impacted residents as we continue to work to make this right.”

    That effort includes the commanding officers of the department’s Newton station meeting on a weekly basis with the 27th Street Long Term Recovery Group, the chief said.

    An investigation following the explosion showed the bomb squad had loaded what they thought was just 16.5 pounds of explosives into the vessel, when they had actually loaded in about 42 pounds.

    In 2022, the city’s Department of Housing reported 23 people in six households had been relocated to permanent housing. Eight more households were ready to relocate and were searching for affordable units. The city has spent more than $3 million to support and aid residents affected by the explosion.

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    ​ Orange County Register