On Tuesday afternoon local time, a violent explosion occurred in the city of Ontario, around 60 kilometers east of Los Angeles. “A large amount of fireworks has caught fire,” said the city council via Twitter and called on the population to avoid the area.
Two people were killed in the explosion. The entire terrain was cordoned off, and a number of emergency services were on site.
According to local fire chief Ray Gayk, professional pyrotechnics had caught fire. Local broadcasters showed pictures of a large house on fire, the roof of which was believed to have been destroyed by the explosion.
Some residents filmed the explosion with cell phone cameras and captured a large cloud of smoke rising.
“My leg caught fire,” reported Arlene Fiero, who lives in close proximity to the center of the explosion, the broadcaster CBS. “Parts of my house fell on me, part of the door, part of the wall, it just collapsed from the explosion.”
Explosives experts and police were on site, the authorities called on residents to be extremely careful, as there could be a risk of further explosions.
Animals were also harmed. TV footage shows firefighters trying to catch a horse running across the grounds.
The trigger for the explosion is so far unclear. The storage and transport of fireworks as well as the trade with them are prohibited in Ontario, officials said to the broadcaster CNN.