Illegal fireworks seized at LA home explode, injure 9

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cache of illegal fireworks seized at a South Los Angeles home exploded Wednesday evening, damaging nearby homes and cars and injuring at least nine people, authorities said.

Police had called in a bomb squad after a tip led them to seize some 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of illegal homemade and China-manufactured pyrotechnics at about noon, police said.

One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing fireworks and destructive devices and also on suspicion of child endangerment because two children were found at the home, police said.

Some of the fireworks appeared to be large mortar-sized devices used for commercial purposes.

“I would expect multiple houses destroyed had those explosives gone up,” LAPD Capt. Robert Long told KABC-TV.

Pallet-loads of fireworks were placed into an LAPD tractor-trailer and hauled away for disposal but at some point, some of the devices that had been placed inside an armored container on an LAPD big-rig exploded in a burst of flame, demolishing the truck. The blast, caught by news crews, also knocked a nearby car on its side, smashed the windows of several others and blew out windows in a neighboring home.

“Some of the fireworks were being stored in our Bomb Squad trailer as a precautionary measure” when there was an explosion, an LAPD tweet said, adding that it was unknown what sparked the blast.

However, a KCBS-TV reporter said that before the explosion, journalists were warned that some fireworks were going to be destroyed inside the truck and the warning “Fire in the hole!” was shouted several times.

A Fire Department tweet said nine patients were being evaluated but there was no immediate word on their conditions. Some were seen being taken away on gurneys.

Nobody appeared to be inside the truck.

Police evacuated nearby homes.

In March, a massive fireworks explosion left two people dead in Southern California and caused at least $3.2 million in damage.

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