November 6, 1997 in Nation/World

Explosion Rips Through L.A. Toy Factory, Killing Three

Los Angeles Times

A powerful explosion ripped through a toy factory in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, killing three workers and injuring at least 25 others, authorities said.

The blast on the factory floor at the Imperial Toy Corp. showered the area with debris and glass window fragments and blew a hole through the roof of the building with a boom that could be heard for blocks.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but it apparently occurred “in or around some kind of sealing machine - a machine that seals the toy packages,” said Alan Masumoto, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Witnesses said the explosion sent screaming workers into the street.

“I looked outside and saw people running out. People were running for their lives,” said Jose Valverde, 31, who works in a warehouse about a block away.

The factory makes explosive caps for toy guns, jump ropes, makeup kits and soap bubble toys.

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