A Los Angeles bomb squad truck transporting illegal fireworks exploded Wednesday evening in a residential neighborhood, injuring 17 people, including multiple police officers.
Nine members of the Lost Angeles Police Department, one agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and seven civilians were injured in the blast, said the Los Angeles Fire Department.
All the injuries were considered non-life threatening, with 16 of the 17 wounded treated at local hospitals.
The even occurred at around 7 p.m. as law enforcement was in the middle of confiscating over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from a house near San Pedro, California, that was slated to be placed into an armor plated bomb squad “vessel,” said the LAPD.
The truck was seen in a video exploding, with smoke billowing in every direction, after a failed attempt at a controlled detonation of the fireworks.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday after the explosion, LAPD Chief Michael Moore said that residents had been ordered to evacuate prior to the failed controlled detonation. However, some residents had ignored the order and remained in their homes.
Moore described the incident as "something happened" that "should not have happened" after multiple improvised explosives were discovered with the 5,000 pounds of fireworks, reported the Washington Examiner.
Moore described the incident as a “total catastrophic failure,” explaining that the bomb squad truck would have been able to absorb the force of the explosion.
“Tonight, every effort of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, joined by LA Fire and ATF during the course of today, was to render this situation safe, and clearly protocols were followed and pursued, but something happened in that containment vehicle that should not have happened, and we don’t know why," Moore said.
According to media reports, the cache of fireworks was allegedly confiscated from the home of Arturo Cejas, 27, earlier on Wednesday. Cejas is being held on $500,000 bail and faces destructive device charges as well as possible child endangerment charges for leaving his 10-year old brother in the house with the explosives.