A year after the detonation of fireworks in South Los Angeles damaged homes and injured multiple people, some houses are still boarded up and residents remain frustrated.
The Los Angeles Police Department botched the detonation a few days before July 4, 2021, and since then, 80 people have been displaced, according to Adalberto Rios of the neighborhood group Union del Barrio.
“One year later, these homes have been devastated, the families have been relocated and homes are still in disrepair,” Rios said. “Would this be happening if this were a different community, an affluent community, a wealthy community? We know the answer is no.”
About 18 families remain housed in a nearby hotel, including that of Leticia Rodriguez.
“I miss my home, I need my home … I’m mad about the situation,” Rodriguez said.
Some residents, such as the Velasquez family, said they’re worried about structural damage to their homes, which was not covered by what the city initially offered.
Angelina Dumarot, a spokesperson for City Councilmember Curren Price, denied that was the case.
“We have put everything on the table, not once did we say it’s only going to be x it’s only going to be or y … The offer to fix the homes has been made across that entire neighborhood,” Dumarot said.
So far, the city has repaired portions of 24 homes at a cost of more than $1 million. In addition, of the more than 400 explosion claims, close to 100 have been settled, with payouts reaching nearly $300,000, and 23 people have been permanently relocated.
Dumarot added that “a mountain of challenges,” including dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, has stalled some progress.
For the displaced residents, though, a resolution can’t come soon enough.
“I need my space, my private space. I need to come back,” Rodriguez said.
To reach councilman Price’s office, call 323-846-2651.