17 Injured Following LAPD’s Botched Attempt to Detonate Illegal Fireworks

17 Injured Following LAPD’s Botched Attempt to Detonate Illegal Fireworks
Photo: Michael Smith, Getty Images

In yet another grim reminder of how dangerous — and incompetent — California cops can be, seventeen Los Angeles locals, including several officers, were injured on Wednesday evening after an LAPD bomb squad truck exploded during a “routine detonation” of an illegal fireworks stash. As it turns out, the ten pounds of fireworks that the cops were trying to “safely” detonate were just too much for the truck to handle. And, well… you can see the outcome for yourself:

The LAPD noted on its Twitter account that it’s “unknown at this time what caused an explosion,” which isn’t really the best thing to hear from a police force with a truck that’s quite literally meant to contain explosions. While none of the injuries sustained were life-threatening, a local CBS News affiliate reported that nine police officers and six civilians ended up being hospitalized for their injuries.

The affiliate added that these bystanders were between 42- and 85-years-old, and presumably, y’know, had nothing to do with these fireworks. That said, the guy who was hoarding a 2,268 kg fireworks stash — a 27-year-old man — was arrested right before 5 kg of those fireworks were loaded into a “specialised armoured truck designed for controlled detonations.” You see how that panned out.

LAPD Lt. Raul Jovel said in a Thursday morning press conference that the techs involved “followed all the protocols in place,” but added that the bomb truck might have actually made the blasts worse.

You put a destructive device inside a closed container where it’s pressurised, when it blows up, that is a big punch,” he said. “If some of these devices were to explode in the open, the impact would be a lot less because the blast would really go in all directions.”

To add insult to the (many) injuries, LAPD officials later confirmed that they didn’t evacuate nearby residents before the preplanned detonation ended up happening, and some of those bystanders ended up being among the injured when that detonation went south. Oops!

According to the CBS affiliate, bomb techs and investigators loaded the remaining 2,263 kg of fireworks onto specialised vehicles before driving them offsite for detonation at a later date. Let’s hope they’re more careful with these explosives the second time around.