Victims of botched LAPD fireworks explosion protest outside Bass' home

More than two years after a botched fireworks explosion in South Los Angeles rocked their neighborhood, some residents say they still can't go home.

On Wednesday, those residents took their message right to the front door of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass' home in Windsor Square.

Those affected say dozens of homes remain unrepaired, and it's still affecting their daily lives. 

The protest began as early as 5 a.m. with protesters carrying megaphones, signs and a banner calling for the arrest of the LAPD officers involved in the failed operation. Union del Barrio, the group organizing families and community members of South LA, contends that more than a dozen families continue to be displaced from their homes, which the city has not repaired.

The explosion happened two years ago in June 2021, on 27th and San Pedro streets in South LA's Historic South-Central neighborhood, after the LAPD had confiscated thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks from a nearby home. 

An LAPD bomb squad decided to detonate the entire cache despite multiple warnings from an explosives expert who urged the team to break the cache up before detonation. 


The explosion sent 17 residents and first responders to the hospital, destroyed the bomb squad truck and damaged more than 30 properties, and nearly 40 vehicles in the immediate area.

Following that blast, the city and nonprofit partners offered support, including temporary housing and processing hundreds of damaged claims, but families affected by the LAPD fireworks explosion and other groups, including the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, said they were protesting in front of the mayor's home because families are still displaced.

They also claim they're being threatened with being kicked out of their paid hotel rooms.

"Today if you go to 27th Street it looks like a war zone," said Ron Gochez with Union del Barrio. "The houses are completely boarded up. They're still destroyed. The foundations are destroyed. They haven't repaired a single house on that block. If they did, these people wouldn't be here. They would be inside their homes, but they're not. They're living in hotels." 

"We've been trying to contact her [Mayor Bass], emailing her. No response. No feedback. Nothing. We've gone through the office to try to set up appointments. No feedback. Nothing. So we're here. We're here to protest. We're done. We're done being ignored," said displaced resident Nereyda Velasquez. 

Families claim they've reached out to the mayor's office seven times in the last three months with no response, so they decided to bring the message to her home here in Windsor Square. 

The city, in its last update, said it has hired additional contractors to speed up the process and approved another $2 million in financial aid. 

Mayor Bass' office has released the following statement in response: 

"The Mayor's Office will continue to work with the local council office and our City Departments towards assisting these families. Earlier this month, members of senior staff met in the Mayor's office with some of the impacted families and reaffirmed that commitment."