A resource center is scheduled to open Monday for the victims of a June 30 explosion in South Los Angeles, when police attempted to detonate a cache of illegal fireworks resulting in an explosion that damaged multiple structures and injured more than a dozen people.
The 27th Street Incident Community Resource Center will officially launch at 3 p.m. at the YMCA at 1006 E. 28th St. It will serve as the designated location where victims can connect with a wide range of services including opportunities to file a claim, obtain mental health & wellness referrals, as well as other supportive services, according to the office of City Councilman Curren Price.
Transitioning from the Local Assistance Center at Trinity Recreation Center, the new site will include representatives from Price's office, the city attorney and city clerk, mental health and wellness staff, as well as members of the non-profit All Peoples Community Center who will offer food and clothing.
The blast on East 27th Street sent 17 neighbors and first responders to the hospital and destroyed an LAPD Bomb Squad truck. Since then victims who were forced to evacuate their homes have been provided with access to housing, funds needed to satisfy their basic needs like clothing, as well as three meals a day.
“The truth of the matter is the victims of this explosion do not have the luxury of waiting. People are hurting and they need help now,” Price said. “At this moment, we are left to pick up the pieces and we need to do whatever we can to help the people that are suffering.”
Authorities have said about 32,000 pounds of fireworks were being stored at a home on East 27th Street. The resident, Arturo Ceja III, 27, was charged with illegally transporting tons of explosives. He is set to be arraigned Aug. 2.
Prosecutors said Ceja purchased most of the explosives from a dealer in Pahrump, Nevada. In addition to the commercial fireworks, the initial search of Ceja's residence led to the discovery of over 140 other homemade fireworks -- typically referred to M devices of varying sizes -- as well as explosives- making components, including hobby fuses that matched the fuse on a homemade mortar shell wrapped in tin foil discovered inside the residence, according to a court affidavit.
Despite the charges against Ceja, some residents and activists have been demanding accountability from the LAPD, suggesting the agency should face penalties -- and possibly even criminal charges -- for detonating the materials in a residential neighborhood.