South LA fireworks explosion: 25 families remain displaced two months since blast

Josh Haskell Image
Thursday, September 2, 2021
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Frustrated South L.A. residents say not enough is being done to fix the damage done to their homes after the LAPD's botched fireworks detonation two months ago.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two months since LAPD's botched fireworks detonation rocked a South Los Angeles neighborhood, frustrated neighbors say not enough is being done to fix the damage done to their homes.

Resident Maria Velasquez says don't let the new paint job on the impacted homes fool you. The structural damage on the inside is severe.

"They're trying to put a Band-Aid to a place that needs stitches," said Velasquez.

She met with an inspector on Wednesday, who told her the home's stucco is coming off and that the house had been moved.

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"Once he walked into my parents' house, he saw that the ceiling had a lot of nails and holes going in there," she said. "He went into the second unit and noticed the same thing.

"He said just by the looks of it, the house is not even acceptable for somebody to live there because if an earthquake comes, there we go. It's all going to fall on top of us. There's not only going to be one death, but 7 deaths - my sister, my brother-in-law, my daughter, my parents, my niece."

Twenty-five families are still displaced and have been living in a downtown L.A. hotel. They want to return home, but have been told it's not safe.

They are angry at their councilmember, Curren Price, about the slow progress.

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"We're here to expose the cowardness, the shameful act of Curren Price that is misleading the public at large about what is the situation and the conditions of the residents. People are facing eviction, homelessness," said Adrian Alvarez, a community organizer with the group Union del Barrio. "They're having a hard time surviving with eating, with the mental impact of the explosion."

On Wednesday, Price introduced a motion to develop a comprehensive recovery plan, which calls for $5 million to go toward services, including structural improvements. Price admits the neighborhood is far from where it needs to be.

"Since the botched detonation, I've been focused on ensuring that individuals who are directly impacted have access to the support and to the services they need to weather this storm," Price said. "If we're going to come out stronger and better from this catastrophe, I think we have to do much, much more."

A report outlining the recovery plan is expected by the end of September. Some of the $5 million would come out of LAPD's budget.