Skip to Content

LAPD’s Fireworks Explosion in South L.A. Has Cost Taxpayers More Than $9 Million, According to City Controller

So far, the city has spent more than four and half million dollars covering the costs of keeping dozens of families sheltered, mostly in a Downtown hotel.

2:59 PM PDT on November 2, 2023

Office of the Inspector General

The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) botched fireworks detonation in South L.A. two years ago has cost taxpayers more than $9 million so far, according to Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia.

After an anonymous tip alleging that someone was selling illegal fireworks out of an alley came in on June 30, 2021, LAPD officers were led to a residence on East 27th Street in South Los Angeles.

When officers arrived at the pink house early that morning they found tens of thousands of pounds of commercial fireworks, in addition to hundreds of individual “homemade fireworks.”

Fearing that the “homemade” explosives were too risky to transport, authorities made the fateful decision to detonate the fireworks in a “total containment vessel”—an expensive enclosure designed to suppress the blast of an explosion—in the middle of a dense residential neighborhood.

The fireworks were loaded into the vessel, in front of a crowd of reporters and cameras, and a massive explosion ensued, destroying homes and sending the 500+ pound door of the containment vessel more than 1300 feet into someone’s roof.

In a subsequent report, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms confirmed that loading up the vessel with too much explosive and too large of a counter charge led to the devastating blast.

Commercial fireworks found at the residence on East 27th Street.

On Thursday morning, City Controller Mejia outlined a list of “identifiable costs spent” related to the explosion, which displaced over 80 residents and injured more than a dozen people.

Relocating displaced residents ate up more than half of the $9.5 million in costs spent.

So far, the city has spent more than four and half million dollars covering the costs of keeping dozens of families sheltered, mostly in a Downtown hotel.

The L.A. Times reported earlier this year that 15 families were still living in the hotel as of the last week of June.

Cleaning up the detonation site on East 27th street and the surrounding neighborhood reportedly cost taxpayers $1.55 million.

Liability claims, thus far, have cost the city nearly $2 million, according to Mejia. In June, the L.A. Times reported that the city had received more than 400 claims relating to the fireworks explosion and had reached settlements in 154 cases. 

The cost for replacing the “containment vessel,” that LAPD Bomb Squad members overloaded with explosives, cost over a million dollars to replace, according to Mejia.

Mejia highlighted that costs remain ongoing. The city has already committed an additional $1.7 million to cover future costs associated with the blast. Time will tell if that’s enough.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Who Keeps Whitewashing Boyle Heights’ Anti-Gentrification Mural?

“We’re not going to let the gentrification of Boyle Heights go under the radar," says Viva Padilla, the founder of the anti-gentrification collective who collaborated with local artist Sergio Robleto to create the Posada-inspired art. They both have their suspicions of who is responsible for it.

December 2, 2023

L.A. Mayor Warns Unhoused Not to Sleep Alone As Police Seek Killer of Three Sleeping Homeless Men

Los Angeles police are searching for a man suspected of walking up to three unhoused people this week while they slept during the early hours of the morning and shooting them to death.

December 2, 2023

Bronny James Cleared To Play Basketball Again By His Doctors

In August, the James family said that after comprehensive initial an follow-up exams, "the probable cause of Mr. James' sudden cardiac arrest has been identified. It is an anatomically and functionally significant congenital heart defect which can and will be treated.

November 30, 2023

Where To Eat This Weekend: Boozy Fresas Con Crema, El Ruso’s New Flour Tostadas, Heritage Fire, and Hotville’s Fried Chicken-and-Chorizo Paella

Plus, where to go for Jordanian shawarma, mezcal-cured steelhead trout tostadas, powerful hash crackers, a local viewing of KISS's farewell concert, and L.A.'s most opulent Sunday brunch.

November 30, 2023

Sonoratown Will Open a Long Beach Location Next Year

Expect to find the city's favorite flour tortillas and caramelos on 3rd Street in Downtown Long Beach, as soon as six months from now.

November 30, 2023
See all posts