Exploding Fireworks Stash Kills 2 in California

Illegal stash caused massive blast, fire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2021 6:33 PM CDT
2 Killed in California Fireworks Explosion
Smoke rises in the background after a fireworks stash exploded in Ontario, Calif., Tuesday, March 16, 2021.   (Watchara Phomicinda/The Orange County Register via AP)

Two people were killed when a large fireworks stash exploded Tuesday in inland southern California, setting off a series of blasts that rocked the residential neighborhood and sent up a huge plume of smoke, authorities said. Authorities—including the FBI—are investigating the explosion of commercial-grade fireworks in Ontario, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, the AP reports. About 50 firefighters were still working to douse the flames three hours after the explosion. Fireworks are illegal in Ontario, as they are in many southern California cities. Ontario Police Chief Mike Lorenz said officers have been called to the area before for reports of fireworks being set off.

Officials said Tuesday during a news conference that they didn't know where the fireworks in the explosion came from, or what was happening in the home where the blasts began. "We don’t know anything about the fireworks right now," Ontario Fire Chief Ray Gayk said. The two people who were killed appeared to be inside or around the home, Gayk said. Others nearby were able to escape. Steve Bailey, who lives nearby, said his whole house shook from the initial explosion. " It felt like something hit the roof, or a car crashed into the house," he told ABC7. Police say the blast is being investigated as a possible felony due to the illegal fireworks.

(More California stories.)

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