SAN PEDRO (AP) —A large firecracker caused a blast near a Los Angles-area harbor that sent police scrambling to evacuate the neighborhood and order bomb squads into a hotel parking garage early Sunday, authorities said.

An M-80 explosive device went off at around the same time an SUV was vandalized in the area, said Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Downing. Investigators initially thought the vehicle was the source of the blast.

The bomb squad sent in robots, and officers throughout the area were placed on alert, but investigators now believe it likely was not a bomb that broke the window and created a small hole in the door of an SUV, Los Angeles Police Lt. John Romero said.

A caller reported hearing a blast at 7:30 a.m. in a commercial area of San Pedro. A short time later a patrol officer with the Port Police discovered the damaged Lincoln Navigator in the underground garage of the Clarion Inn.

Investigators found debris away from the SUV that helped them determine the blast was a firecracker, police said.

“On closer inspection and using their training, bomb squad is confident the damage was caused by something other than a bomb. Based on what we know now, they’re scaling the operation way back,” Romero said.

Downing said investigators ruled out any connection to terrorism. No arrests were made.

Romero said the LAPD has classified it as a vandalism case and detectives will be looking at surveillance tape of the garage and impounding the SUV to search it for clues.

The Navigator is owned by Kent Whitman of San Jose. He returned Sunday from a seven-day Mexican cruise and found that the hotel where he left his SUV was evacuated, then learned that the evacuation was because of damage to his vehicle.

“We got off our cruise ship and our car got vandalized. We don’t know what exactly happened,” Whitman told an Associated Press reporter at the scene. “We had a GPS system. That’s the only thing that’s gone.”

Whitman said he got engaged on the cruise and Sunday is his birthday.

Rudy Pastrano, the owner of a diner about two blocks from the hotel, said he was preparing the day’s menu when he heard a loud sound.

“I was cooking my food and I heard something like ‘boom’! I said, ‘What happened?’ And I checked everything in the kitchen but saw nothing. An hour later I went outside and saw a lot of police,” he said.

Streets were shut down and police briefly set up a command center south of the hotel. The roads were reopened around 11:15 a.m.

Police said there were no reports of injuries or damage to the hotel.

“We always take the potential for an explosive device very seriously,” the LAPD said in a statement Sunday night. “This incident turned out to be the best-case scenario.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (27)
  1. B. H. Oilsammunist says:

    One of al-Bama’s co-religionists?

  2. exiled conservative says:

    Sounds like a test to me. Blow up our harbor and destroy our source of revenue from the harbor. Imagine that.

  3. francisandbeans says:

    Sounds like a red flag.

    1. Shamus says:

      It’s obvious you posted all 3 or more of
      These ridiculous replies
      They have that T bagger ultra conservative right wing extremism tinge

    2. George says:

      Better safe that sorry.

  4. DB says:

    Blow up LA harbor? That can’t be a bad thing…

  5. Koo says:

    So the SUV in question didn’t just decide to blow it’s self up?

  6. Fred says:

    How many terrorist attacks have happened that this Administration have covered up?

    1. Dahgrostabphri says:

      Well, you had the right wing guy who attacked the Holocaust Museum and the right wing guy who shot the doctor, and the right wing guys…oh you get the point. I don’t recall them being covered up, but I know the right wing gets mad when you point out that it seems the be right wingers who cause most of the terrorism in America.

  7. GWB says:

    Not Al-Queda ( the base )
    You saw what how lame the Paki did in NY

  8. KZnextzone says:

    Almost all of them

  9. Omar M Sharif says:

    Typical Blowin It out if proportion
    Could have just been an aerosol can

    1. Profg says:

      And that kind of thinking is just what allows terrorists to get away with murder.

      1. Dahgrostabphri says:

        And that kind of thinking allows the politicians who push fear to get away with murder.

      2. BoBo says:

        Fear mongerers

  10. deeknh says:

    Wish Papadakis Greek Restaurant would re-open in San Pedro!

  11. Wiley C says:

    Broken glass and a small hole in the door
    someone nearby was messing around with
    M-80s. (equivalent 1/4 stick of dynamite)

    1. WaLLy says:

      Wiley C
      You called it

    2. BoBo says:

      Actually not dynamite not 1/4 stick
      Flash powder
      M80 military simulator artillery

  12. Immebsmom says:

    Willey C, thank you for one of the more logical answers posted here. I was wondering about the terrorist stuff, but frankly your comment just slapped me upside the head and made me realize we are looking for the boogie man, when it is probably idiot teenagers.

  13. james says:

    an m-80 is not a firecracker-it is equal to a quarter stick of tnt–thus, it is a bomb. and it easily maims and kills….

  14. Joe Jr says:

    I like how these stories are updated
    but think it should be time stamped and state “updated”

  15. Mike says:

    I live some 15 miles away in Orange County and I heard the explosion.

  16. RD says:

    M-80 , On a cruise? Cruise most likely to mexico ? M-80s in mexico … National Security? Blow up the harbor? Figure it out Morons…..

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