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    Lakewood Council To Get Status Report On "Fireworks House" Explosion; Mayoral Statement Appears On Lakewood City Hall Website As Grassroots Residents Organize Using Internet

    (March 12, 2006) -- Lakewood City Hall's website has acknowledged a massive March 5 explosion at a north Lakewood home allegedly involving illegal fireworks and (as requested by the organizer of the newly-formed "Lakewood Accountability and Action Group") agendized a March 14 City Council agenda item to discuss the matter.

    On March 10, Lakewood City Hall's website ( the following statement by Lakewood Mayor Joseph Esquivel appeared:

    The damage done by the explosion of what may have been a homemade fireworks factory has frightened and outraged the families on Dunrobin Avenue. I'm outraged, too; as much as if the threat to lives and property had happened on my own Lakewood street and to my own family. Recklessly endangering an entire neighborhood is a serious crime.

    The Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney's office are developing a case against the man who is accused of making and storing illegal fireworks in his quiet Lakewood neighborhood. We cannot presume guilt, but I’m relieved that the justice system is keeping this individual from doing even more damage.

    The Lakewood City Council recognizes that a thorough review of the city’s policies relating to fireworks possession, use, and sale is needed. I strongly support a Council Public Safety Committee review of Lakewood’s fireworks regulations. But that’s just the first step. We must learn from this tragedy.

    The Lakewood City Council's March 14 agenda includes an item scheduling a "status report on the property located at 6178 Dunrobin Ave." The item's title (traditionally a short indication to provide required legal notice) doesn't indicate if the report will be presented by Lakewood City Hall staff, the Sheriff's Dept, or both.

    Meanwhile, organizers of the Lakewood Accountability & Action Group ("LAAG") are steaming ahead with their plans using both traditional fliers and speedy internet tools.

    Emails to what it says is a "a growing list" of Lakewood residents are now tagged with the group's de facto mission statement: "Demanding action and accountability from the Sheriff's Dept. and the City Council"

    LAAG indicates it intends to be heard at Tuesday night's Council meeting (starts at 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood City Hall).

    LAAG plans to have a presence at a Monday night meeting called by the Sheriff's Dept. for March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfair Park (5720 Clark Ave.) at which LASD Lakewood station Capt. Dave Fender is scheduled to make a public presentation. "We scheduled the special meeting mainly for neighbors and others living nearby the affected residence, but yes it is a public meeting," LASD Lt. Tracy Benjestorf recently told

    LAAG's fliers say the group is "tired of excuses and unresponsiveness by the [Lakewood] City Council and Sheriff's Dept." The fliers also include an email address -- -- inviting community members to be added to a "growing list of residents concerned about fireworks and other similar issues..."

    Developing further.

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