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.”