ONTARIO (CBSLA) — Nearly one month after a massive explosion rocked an Ontario neighborhood, several of the 80 homes damaged still need repairs.
At Erin Uigalelei’s home, boards still cover windows blown out by the blast. She said she filed a claim with the city of Ontario to help cover the cost of repairs, but it was denied.READ MORE: 13-Year-Old Boy Arrested For Bringing Loaded Handgun To Kolb Middle School In Rialto
“Our insurance is covering it, but we have to still pay the deductible,” she said. “We have to come up with $1,000, so that’s all that I asked for was help with was the deductible.”
A spokesperson for the city of Ontario said the city was not responsible for the explosion or the estimated $3.2 million in damage it caused. In total, 11 claims filed with the city have been denied.
“I feel like they do play a role in the responsibility because people have complained multiple times that that house has been doing illegal fireworks,” Uigalelei said.
According to investigators, two people died in that March 16 blast caused by a large cache of illegal fireworks.READ MORE: Councilman Mitch O'Farrell Elected President Pro Tempore Of LA City Council
“We didn’t know what was happening,” Uiagalelei said. “It was like, we’re just leave and go away from whatever’s happening.”
Anthony Trujillo, another neighbor, said his home suffered so much damage that he and his family of six still cannot live there.
“We’re going to have to find a little apartment or something so we can live,” he said. “Eight months over there man, until this house gets done.”
Trujillo did not file a claim with the city, but felt it did bear some responsibility for not acting on complaints from neighbors over the use of illegal fireworks.
“They shouldn’t be denying [the claims],” he said. “They knew about this place. … All of these neighbors here reported them.”MORE NEWS: San Bernardino County Parks Employee Jason Collins Allegedly Exposed Himself To Coworker At Mojave Narrows Regional Park
San Bernardino County Fire Department has since launched a program to track and investigate complaints of illegal fireworks. And while neighbors like the idea, they’re frustrated waiting for repairs.