Things changed in an instant for the victims of the June 30 fireworks explosion that rattled a neighborhood in South LA, injured 17 people and destroyed apartments and cars up and down the street.
Jose Bacerra is one of the victims of the explosion, which occurred when the Los Angeles Police Department attempted to safely detonate illegal fireworks in a residential area. He said nothing could've prepared his family for what they endured in the aftermath.
"Our life changed," said Bacerra.
Bacerra and his family are just some of the residents who are turning to legal counsel, filing claims against the city for the losses they suffered.
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"The police go in the morning, and they say 'We found fireworks in the neighbor's house so you have two options - leave the house or stay inside the house and you'll be safe,'" Bacerra recalled at a news conference about the claims.
He and his family did what the LAPD asked, and stayed put. They shot video of a bomb technician loading the truck outside the front of their house. The blast sent his family screaming, his daughters crying.
"And suddenly I hear a scream say, 'Fire in the hole!'" he said. "Suddenly the big explosion.
"It was a nightmare."
A community forum Monday night that was supposed to help families get resources turned into a shouting match against the city.
Some of the families seeking legal help are doing so because they fear the city won't make good on its promises to help.
"This is not a bash the police," said Michael Alder, an attorney for the victims in the case. "But the police have admittedly screwed up — so help these families."
Some of the losses can be replaced, but the damage is extensive.
"All the ceiling is on the floor inside," Bacerra said of his home. "All the windows, they are gone. The doors, everything inside, destroyed.
"We want somebody to help our family in the way that we can have another opportunity to have what we lost."