Arson and explosives investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been called in to accurately map the scene of the explosion caused after Los Angeles police attempted to safely detonate a cache of illegal fireworks.
“What we are trying to do at this point to support getting folks back into their residences is to shrink the footprint of the actual scene,” said Michael Hoffman, the ATF’s assistant special officer in charge.
The investigation into Wednesday’s explosion has no definitive timeline, but will continue over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and at least into early next week, Hoffman said.
The evacuation area has been reduced to Adams Boulevard to 28th Street and San Pedro Street to Stanford Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Meanwhile, information on resources available to residents and businesses affected by the explosion has been posted on the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department website, emergency.lacity.org.
“We realize that this situation is still under investigation, and once residents are able to reassess and occupy their homes and business, we’ll be able to provide more services to them,” said Carol Parks, the department’s assistant general manager.
A total of 17 people, including 10 law enforcement officers, were injured in the blast in South Los Angeles. Several homes were damaged as well, with the damage extending at least a half-block from the blast.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was identifying accommodations to support medical needs and social services for those who had to be evacuated.
Officials said an effort was also underway to assist an elderly couple who remained at the site by choice.
Arturo Cejas III, 27, was arrested on suspicion of reckless or malicious possession of a destructive device. He was being held on $500,000 bail, LAPD Officer Tony Im said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has directed the LAPD “to conduct a full investigation into this incident, so we can better understand why this happened.”