L.A. Council approves $2.3M for 2021 firework detonation explosion victims

LA Council approves $2.3M for 2021 firework detonation explosion victims
LA Council approves $2.3M for 2021 firework detonation explosion victims Photo credit Getty Images

Los Angeles (KNX) - The Los Angeles City Council approved nearly $2.3 million in funding Friday to continue assisting residents who were displaced by a June 2021 botched Los Angeles Police Department attempt to detonate fireworks found in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.

The June 2021 controlled detonation by the LAPD on East 27th Street sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles. After the explosion, 45 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on the neighborhood to process the roughly three-block debris field.

Residents in the impacted area said there were 'bombed' by the Los Angeles Police Department. "Our house was destroyed, and there's some valuable things inside that's hard to recover," Jovana Martinez, a victim, said days after the explosion. "It's going to take a while to get that back."

In 2022, the city's Department of Housing reported 23 people in six households had been relocated to permanent housing. Eight more households were ready to relocate and were searching for affordable units.

"I want to be clear that my office has never abandoned these families in this time of crisis," Councilman Curren Price said during Wednesday's council meeting. "The reality is that CD9 (Council District 9)  has inherited a tremendous tragedy that needs ongoing support from the entire city, including from the council."

The just-approved funds will provide permanent relocation of residents who remain displaced from the fireworks explosion, as well as funding for temporary housing and case management, Price said.

As of February 2023, The Los Angeles Times reported that there were 57 working-class residents displaced by the explosion, staying in 20 rooms at the Level Hotel. Price had said that he would work with the families until they find suitable housing, or accept relocation funds.

Along with the newly approved funding, the motion also directs several departments to report back in 60 days with updates on the status of the community affected by the fireworks explosion.

The council also instructed LAPD Chief Michel Moore to report on any additional steps taken to ensure a similar blast does not occur again, as well as an overview of outreach conducted by the LAPD to the impacted community on East 27th Street, near San Pedro Street.

The Department of Building and Safety and the Department of City Planning will also update the status of any pending permits, applications or other matters related to the blast.

The Department of Public Works will conduct its own report on any infrastructure improvements to city assets made or needed in the area. In addition, the city attorney will provide an update on the status of claims and litigation related to the 27th Street blast.

Lastly, according to the motion, the Department of Housing will include a list of how many individuals were successfully rehoused and how many are still seeking assistance, including a status update on what community investments are being made to help those community members recover from the fireworks explosion.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images