LAPD

LAPD Bomb Squad Reportedly Ignored Expert's Warning Prior to Fireworks Blast

The expert bomb technician said their warnings were dismissed by both their colleagues and supervisor.

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Members of an LAPD bomb squad who detonated a cache of illegal fireworks in South Los Angeles last year, causing an explosion that displaced several residents from their homes, ignored the warnings of an expert team member who said the cache should be broken into smaller portions, according to a report set to be discussed by the city's police commission next week.

According to a report from the Office of the Inspector General, obtained by NBC4's I-Team, the expert team member expressed concerns that the volume and weight of fireworks being placed into the department's "total containment vessel" was too powerful for the vessel to control.

The expert, referred to in the report as "Bomb Technician C," and an LAPD detective referred to as "Detective A," had a verbal exchange about these concerns before the detonation occurred.

Both Bomb Technician C and Detective A independently told the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during its investigation into the 27th Street explosion about the verbal exchange.

"This is a lot of material. This is a lot both [in terms of] Net Explosive Weight and physical weight. It’s a lot of material. There’s a lot of devices." Bomb Technician C reported saying to a colleague during the ATF interview.

The physical weight of the explosives on a scale is different than the "Net Explosive Weight," which is an expression of the explosive energy of the items as compared with the explosive power in an amount of TNT.

Bomb Technician C said their warnings were dismissed by both their colleagues and supervisor, who according to the Inspector General's report calculated the total explosive power of the devices based largely on estimates.

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The report will be discussed at Tuesday's meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.

Officer Drake Madison, spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, told City News Service on Saturday that the department had no comment on the report at this time.

The inspector general's report also faulted the LAPD for a "lack of supervision," and said "a failure to utilize best practices at the scene of Bomb Squad calls had become somewhat of an accepted practice."

The June 30 detonation on East 27th Street, near San Pedro Street, sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

The Los Angeles City Council passed legislation on Sept. 21 to identify $5 million -- in part from the LAPD's budget -- to assist recovering residents.

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