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Most Evacuation Orders Lifted In Ontario After Bomb Experts Detonated More Unexploded Fireworks – CBS Los Angeles

ONTARIO (CBSLA) – Dozens of families remained displaced Friday while bomb technicians continue to search for unexploded fireworks following Tuesday’s massive explosion which killed two men and showered 80 surrounding properties with debris in an Ontario neighborhood.

Bomb disposal technicians in an Ontario, Calif., neighborhood that saw a massive fireworks explosion which killed two people. March 19, 2021. (CBSLA)

About two-dozen bomb technicians from several federal and local agencies are continuing to canvass the area for unexploded ordnance. The fireworks are too volatile to remove, so since Wednesday, the bomb squads have been filling dumpsters with fireworks and setting them off at the property where the initial explosion occurred.

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On Friday, bomb technicians were set to safely detonate enough fireworks to fill 80 containers, with each container able to hold 27 gallons each, authorities said.

By 5 p.m., the mandatory evacuation order was lifted for much of the area, officials said during a news conference.

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Beginning at around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and lasting several hours, multiple explosions occurred at a property at San Antonio Avenue and Maple Street, sending terrified neighbors scrambling for safety. The initial explosion had the magnitude of a bomb blast, with a number of other explosions following.

Alex Paez, 38, and his 20-year-old cousin Cesar Paez were both killed in the blasts. Their bodies were found on the property. Three others were hurt.

Two homes on the property were destroyed, the main home and a back house. A dog was also found dead on the property, while two horses were rescued. Several surrounding homes also sustained damage, such as blown out windows and doors.

March 19, 2021. (CBSLA)

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the home whether the explosion occurred was a so-called “trap house,” a place where illegal fireworks are sold. Investigators are unsure about whether the fireworks were being made at or sold from the home, only that there was a very large supply.

March 16, 2021. (Watchara Phomicinda/The Press-Enterprise/Getty Images)

Since Tuesday, an evacuation order has been in place for dozens of residents who live in the area bordered by West Francis Street and West Maple Avenue, and between Fern Avenue and San Antonio Avenue.

“After we’ve cleared the area of any unexploded ordnance, fireworks, any dangerous munitions, we’re gonna start the investigation part of this incident,” Ontario Fire Department Chief Ray Gayk said Wednesday.

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The Red Cross Thursday said it is assisting 137 people who live within the evacuation area with temporary housing. Residents are being provided with hotel vouchers. Anyone who needs assistance should call 909-395-2970 or visit the De Anza Community Center.