SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Residents affected by the Los Angeles Police Department’s botched detonation of 10 pounds of homemade fireworks on June 30, which injured 17 people and caused severe property damage to homes in the blast zone, were escorted inside their homes Thursday by city crews to assess damages.
Some of the families were allowed to stay, though many were not with the city wanting to ensure that damaged dwellings are livable first.READ MORE: Crews Work To Contain Antonio Fire Burning In Angeles National Forest
For the first time since the massive explosion, nine days ago, the Martinez family visited their apartment.
“…glass everywhere. It was, like, shocking,” Jovana Martinez said. “My mom is like, ‘We’re not sure if we can stay there,’ because what if something much more happened, like gas or something. So, we’re just gonna stay in a hotel for now.”
Earlier on Thursday, dozens of neighbors of East 27th and San Pedro Streets where the explosion occurred met at a nearby church for a quick briefing, before being escorted to their homes.
Many of the residents shared the same concerns as the Martinez and have been struggling since being unable to return to their homes.
“The first night we had to sleep in our car because we were scrambling to figure out where we were gonna go. We had no money, no resources,” Kenia Prieto said. “It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions. Some days are good. Some days are bad. Some days I wanna let it all out.
A good number of residents in the evacuation area were unaware of where they could go after the incident. From a Red Cross shelter to hotel rooms, the city said it had about 75 people displaced during the investigation and almost all of those needed a place to stay.
Maria Velasquez, another displaced resident, expressed her sadness about no longer being able to live in the house her family has called home for more than 30 years.
“It hurts me because my parents, this was their house,” she said. “It wasn’t a mansion or whatever, but this is what they worked for. This is what they paid off.”READ MORE: OC School Board Votes To Sue Newsom Over Mask Rule For Students
Velasquez also said she doesn’t even recognize her family’s home and that they are now staying with their sister until they can figure out the next steps.
“My dad’s house is lopsided. You can see the ceiling and the nails and everything coming down,” Velasquez said.
District 9 Councilman Curren Price’s chief of staff, James Westbrooks, said Councilman Price plans to do all he can to make sure his residents are made whole and reimbursed for any damages.
Construction crews worked well into the evening, boarding up shattered windows, but yellow-tags posted to heavily damaged homes warn people of the potential danger inside.
The neighborhood street is still closed to traffic. Only residents are allowed to assess their properties.
As for Velasquez, she said she’s hopeful her family will one day be able to return to the home they worked so hard to call their own.
“My parents wants to rebuild. They want to rebuild what they purchased and what they were owners of.”
As the process continues, residents waiting to return to their homes said they are taking the situation day-by-day and hope that the city doesn’t leave them out of their homes for too long.MORE NEWS: Gunman Barricaded In RV In South LA Escapes Police
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officially cleared the scene just after noon Thursday, which is why residents were allowed to inspect their homes. However, ATF agents said they are still doing lab work and that it could be weeks or months before there are any results on exactly what went wrong during the detonation.