Firecracker Was Source of Apparent SUV Blast

VehiclesHotels and AccommodationsTravelHealthJohn Romero

SAN PEDRO (KTLA) -- Authorities say a large firecracker caused a blast that resulted in the bomb squad being called to a hotel parking garage near the harbor in San Pedro.

An M-80 explosive device went off early Sunday at around the same time an SUV was vandalized in the same area, according to Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Downing.

A caller reported hearing a blast in the area around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, according to LAPD Lt. John Romero.

Investigators initially thought the vehicle, parked in a hotel garage at at 111 S. Gaffey St., was the source of the blast.

Responding officers found a Lincoln Navigator with a broken window and a small hole in the door in the underground parking garage.

The LAPD declared a citywide tactical alert at 8:20 a.m.

The bomb squad sent in robots and police evacuated nearby buildings.

Authorities also shut down surrounding streets to accommodate an investigation. The roads were reopened around 11:15 a.m.

"On closer inspection and using their training, bomb squad is confident the damage was caused by something other than a bomb," Romero said. Based on what we know now, they're scaling the operation wayback," Romero said. "There's any variety of things that can sound like a bomb or a blast, particularly in a subterranean environment. The danger has passed."

The LAPD has classified it as a vandalism case and detectives will be looking at surveillance tape of the garage. They will also impound the SUV to search it for clues.

"All we have here is a car that was broken into," McGill said. "Obviously we think bad things first and then we back out."

The SUV is owned by Kent Whitman, of San Jose.

He was on a seven-day Mexican cruise, and returned Sunday to learn about the incident involving his vehicle.

Whitman said the only thing missing from the Navigator was a GPS system.

Police said there were no reports of injuries or damage to the hotel.

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