Council approves additional funding for blast victims

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The City Council has approved an additional $660,000 for victims of a botched detonation of illegal fireworks in a South L.A. neighborhood two years ago.

The council voted 12-0 July 5 to further allocate funding to assist recovery efforts for families and residents affected by the explosion, many of whom still remain displaced from their homes.

Council members Heather Hutt, Katy Yaroslavsky and Curren Price were absent from the meeting.

In June 2021, the Los Angeles Police Department conducted a controlled denotation of illegal fireworks seized from a residence on East 27th Street near San Pedro Street. The denotation resulted in an explosion that injured 17 individuals and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced July 2 that four members of the department’s bomb squad were disciplined for their involvement in the botched operation. In addition, an internal investigation resulted in the implementation of new protocols for the bomb squad to prevent similar events from occurring in the future, according to Moore.

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

That effort includes having commanding officers of the department’s Newton Station meet on a weekly basis with the 27th Street Long Term Recovery Group, Moore said.

“Work to stabilize and repair 27th Street began immediately following the 2021 fireworks disposal explosion,” Moore said. “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 city previously spent $3 million to support and aid residents affected by the fireworks explosion. In March, the council approved an additional $2.3 million for that same effort.

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.

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