Report Finds Ignoring Police Bomb Tech’s Warning Leads to Devastating L.A. Blast

There’s an iconic scene in the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. While committing a train robbery, a bank employee refuses to open a safe carried in a freight car. Butch decides dynamite will do the trick.

Butch says, “Well, that ought to do it,” as he and Sundance step back from the train.

As Ken Duke described at, “The resulting explosion turns the train car into splinters, destroying the money in the process….

“As they pick themselves up off of the ground after the blast, Sundance sarcastically asks, ‘Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?’”

It would be a surprise if someone hasn’t quoted that line after what an investigation concludes happened last June in South L.A., a few days before the 4th of July. Police planned to destroy “homemade fireworks” they’d confiscated. According to ABC 7 News, a senior bomb technician reportedly “raised serious concerns about the amount of explosives they planned to detonate in a containment chamber mounted on the back of a truck.”

Quoting the bomb tech when he was speaking to his squad before the detonation, “I said, ‘uh, this is too much to do one shot; we’re gonna break them up, right?’” He concluded, “I have a bad feeling… this is not good… this is too big.”

Apparently, he was right. The catastrophic explosion reportedly caused over $1 million in damage and destroyed the containment vessel and large truck it was mounted on. also reported almost 40 cars and 35 properties damaged and 17 people injured. The blast has also resulted in 400 insurance claims, with lawsuits sure to follow.

A BATF investigation found, “the bomb technicians made major miscalculations….” They said the load exceeded the “equipment’s safety rating.” It wasn’t until investigators released this report that the public learned a senior technician’s warnings were ignored.

Other bomb techs and a supervisor conducting the detonation were taken out of the field or placed on “administrative leave and may face discipline.”

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