Explosion injures LAPD officer, damages cruiser in downtown LA

3rdexpl.pngUPDATED

An “apparent underground explosion” at 637 E. 3rd in downtown LA has damaged a police cruiser and injured an LAPD officer, according to LAFD spokeman Brian Humphrey. A second officer in the cruiser was unharmed.

Humphrey gives a full account of the incident (from comments below):

What we now know is that a uniformed male Officer in a marked patrol unit was driving down 3rd Street when he noticed light smoke coming from a manhole cover near Alameda.

The Officer called for routine LAFD response, and we were on the scene in less than 5 minutes.

As the LAFD Engine Company arrived, the Officer drove to the Fire Department’s location and parked his patrol car to block traffic – and by happenstance, parked atop a distant manhole.

Moments after he exited the patrol car (to point out the formerly smoking manhole to LAFD personnel), an explosion occurred in the manhole he inadvertently parked above.

The forceful explosion damaged the undercarriage of his Ford Crown Victoria, but there was no fire. The Officer was not struck by any debris, but did complain of back pain, for which he was taken to an area hospital in good condition.

3rd Street between Alameda and Central is closed while the scene is under investigation. KCAL9 has video from the scene.

Zach at LAist reports that police had arrived on scene “before the explosion setting off flares.”

10 Replies to “Explosion injures LAPD officer, damages cruiser in downtown LA”

  1. David,

    Thanks for sharing word of what remains an active investigation.

    What we now know is that a uniformed male Officer in a marked patrol unit was driving down 3rd Street when he noticed light smoke coming from a manhole cover near Alameda.

    The Officer called for routine LAFD response, and we were on the scene in less than 5 minutes.

    As the LAFD Engine Company arrived, the Officer drove to the Fire Department’s location and parked his patrol car to block traffic – and by happenstance, parked atop a distant manhole.

    Moments after he exited the patrol car (to point out the formerly smoking manhole to LAFD personnel), an explosion occurred in the manhole he inadvertently parked above.

    The forceful explosion damaged the undercarriage of his Ford Crown Victoria, but there was no fire. The Officer was not struck by any debris, but did complain of back pain, for which he was taken to an area hospital in good condition.

    3rd Street remains closed between Alameda and Central as the City’s Department of Water and Power investigates a spontaneous matter that appears to be purely within their domain.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  2. Brian: If the officer had exited his patrol car before the explosion and was not struck by any debris, any idea what the source of his back pain was? Just curious.

  3. Owing to attending a brilliant performance byDanny Weizmann, I missed the explosion but watched the bomb squad race east on E. 4th Street (past Boyle and the 5/101 Freeway ramps) as well as the news-copters as they gathered slowly one by one. (To be sure, things blow up and fall down frequently enough in New York that I have long since shrugged complacently when such things occur.)

    Nevertheless, I do not forget. There continue to be a number of outrageously disastrous events, such as a similar blast on 43rd Street in mid-town NYC last year, the Minneapolis bridge collapse, the 5 Freeway inferno, the Bay Bridge explosion and collapse. . . The first thing the experts posit it is that the incidents are not terror-related. If not, is it not gross incompetence? In any case, things are not working out.

    Ultimately, Danny Weizmann was equally explosive. One of the first writers for the L.A. Weekly, he also cut his teeth in Flipside, the L.A. Reader and as one of Los Angeles’ first punk fanzine publishers when in 1981 he put out Rag in Chains in 1981. That cover featured Bobby Pyn (aka Darby Crash); subsequent editions featured Exene, Hank Rollins and Lee Ving.

    Explosive indeed.

    We now take you back to your ordinary madness.

  4. Burns! wrote…

    If the officer had exited his patrol car before the explosion and was not struck by any debris, any idea what the source of his back pain was?

    While the official determination will be made by the treating Physician, our Paramedics surmised that the subjective complaint may have been from, or caused by a response to, the considerable concussive force.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  5. Bustard wrote…

    The first thing the experts posit it is that the incidents are not terror-related. If not, is it not gross incompetence? In any case, things are not working out.

    I’m not sure I understand the excerpt above. Was there something our agency should have done (and didn’t?) in response to this incident? Exactly what is not working out?

    Thanks in advance.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  6. Brian,

    If the incidents are not terror-related (and I must admit I have my doubts), then it is highly likely that the agencies whose responsibility is the maintenance of the infrastructure are guilty of the “gross incompetence.” And if that is teh case, then bridges collapsing, poor engineering and motor vehicular safety fall under the responsibility of agencies other than the area fire departments. Please understand that it is certainly not the LAFD that I am indicting.

  7. Bustard,

    Thanks for the reply. I now understand and agree that critical infrastructure is not merely a ‘set and forget’ matter. On the contrary, I will opine that we as a society must seek to understand, appreciate and satisfy the genuine factors of *sustainability* at the inception of such projects and programs.

    Again, thanks for the clarification.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

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