South LA

More Than 2 Months After Fireworks Explosion in South LA, Some Residents Remain in a Hotel

Seventeen people were hurt June 30 when a LAPD bomb squad truck exploded in South LA.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Not far from their damaged homes on 27th Street, South LA families rallied against the LAPD fireworks miscalculation that changed their lives June 30.

Overloading of a containment vessel used by the LAPD bomb squad to destroy illegal fireworks was the cause of the explosion that rattled a South Los Angeles neighborhood and left 17 people injured, according to a federal report.

Some were still left out of their homes, in a hotel.

"All they've done is boarded up the windows and doors," said Madelyn Heredia, who was among those displaced by the blast. "That's all they've basically done. They haven't really fixed anything."

Displaced residents acknowledge LA Police Chief Michel Moore's apology. Now they want to know exactly who on the LAPD bomb squad approved the blast.

"So why the hell can't we know who these officers were?" said Maria Velasquez, a displaced homeowner. "Who these officers were who did this to our house? It hurts. It hurts a lot."

Ron Gochez, of the South LA Neighborhood Council, says they need to be sued.

"The city needs to be sued, the department needs to be sued," he said. "Every single individual needs to be sued."

Some families say they caught buses to the rally Thursday because the explosion also destroyed their cars.

One family that couldn't make it met NBC4 at a downtown hotel where they were relocated two months ago.

Jafet Martinez says the blast disrupted his seven-person household and allowed thieves to pick off what his family left behind.

"I lost a computer and a bike," he said. "Not only that, we had many things that we also lost."

As for pending repairs, the office of City Councilman Curren Price says broken windows in the blast zone will be fixed Friday.

But victims such as Martinez want someone held accountable, as they try to start over.

"If they were able to give the identity of the person selling these fireworks, then why not show the identity of the guy in charge?" Martinez said.

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