Two people were killed in the Southern California community of Inland when a large cache of fireworks exploded.
The explosion is being investigated by authorities, including the FBI and ATF. The firefighters, 3 hours after the explosion, continued working to extinguish the flames, even then the outbreak of more fireworks could be heard.
Authorities identified 2 men missing after the explosion as Alex and Ceasar Paez, 38 and 20 years old, who are possibly cousins.
One of the residents of the area expressed the fear she felt at the time of the explosion, she said “I honestly thought that someone was bombing us.”
Ontario Police Officer Mike Lorenz said the situation was unique because of the volume of the blast and that in the past they had received reports of fireworks in the area, which are illegal in Ontario.
"All fireworks are prohibited in Ontario, including the Safe and Sane fireworks. You may not sell, buy, transport, store, or use fireworks in the City of Ontario.” (ontarioca.gov)
The incident took place on Tuesday shortly after 12:30 p.m. in the 400 block of West Francis Street. According to residents of the place, small explosions could still be heard on Tuesday, after 7 p.m.
Cleanup crews continued to work hard to clean up around 80 properties near the explosion.
The situation in Ontario is extremely dangerous. Some videos recorded by residents of the area are circulating on social networks showing a large swirl of smoke and flames coming from the property. This toxic smoke caused people to run for cover.
Resident Trina Barich said. “I didn’t feel like in an earthquake, it wasn’t like a thunder, it wasn’t anything I’ve ever felt before”
Arlene Fiero, who lives next door to the house where the blast occurred, told ABC7 that there had been problems with the house before. Fiero expresses that all year she heard explosions coming from the house, illegal fireworks. She said that she had called the authorities several times but there was not much they could do, she assumed they should be caught on the spot.
“I immediately thought of my parents, they were in the house across the street,” she said. “My small animals are in the area, I called them. I couldn’t do much more than getting to safety.”
Outside the house, she saw a car catch fire.
Fiero added that her leg caught fire causing burns and scars.
Her exact words according to ABC were:
“My leg caught fire”, “I remember every detail, my fall, and the flames a bit … It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. I felt like I was in a war zone … Part of My house fell on me, part of the door and part of the wall, it just collapsed from the explosion. “
An evacuation order was issued on Tuesday after 2 p.m. by firefighters on Francis Street and Maple Avenue between Fern and San Antonio avenues. This order was issued to prevent further disasters caused by the explosion.
People close to the scene of the explosion were evacuated. Around 60 people registered at a red cross shelter. Sixteen people were accommodated in a hotel for the night on Tuesday.
East and westbound traffic on Francis, Maple, and Locust streets were closed between Euclid and San Antonio avenues.
A thorough investigation is expected to be carried out in the next few days to find out the cause of the initial explosion.
Suzie Owens said she was physically thrown more than once due to the explosions. She expressed that everyone started screaming, went outside, heard gunshots, then fireworks. Owens said she threw herself on the grass.
When she was able to enter the house, another explosion licked her against the wall. Fortunately, no one was injured, she said.
Some homes were affected by flames from the debris that was scattered by the explosion.
According to the neighbors, the neighbors on the other side of the street were not exempt from damage, some windows were broken.
Residents said they heard one explosion after another; the initial big explosion, followed by small explosions throughout the day.
A neighbor who lives nearby named Steve Bailey told ABC7 that his house was rocked by the initial explosion. He said it felt like something was hitting the roof or a car hitting the house.
Oscar Vargas, who lives near where the explosion took place, told the Los Angeles Times that at the time of the first explosion, they grabbed his dog and ran into the street. The 17-year-old said he knew that the people who lived in that house had fireworks, although he did not know how many.
Many were affected by the explosion that took place in Ontario last Tuesday, so far there have been 2 deaths of people who were in or around the house by the time of the explosion and 2 missing. The identity of the deceased has not yet been confirmed.
According to Dan Bell, a spokesman for the city of Ontario, two houses on the same lot were covered in flames after the explosion, one house was in front and the other was behind the one that exploded.
Bell stated that the house in the back was left without a roof and in the one in front the flames could be seen coming through the roof.
Ontario Fire Chief Ray Gayk said:
“I don’t know exactly what was there, however, there was a lot of some kind of explosive, and it could be a combination of many different things. We just don’t know yet, because it’s too dangerous for us.” to get in there. We have to go through a very meticulous process “,” The problem with many of these types of fireworks is that they get wet, they start to dry out and they become very volatile at that point.”
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