There was panic-or at least deep concern-in the city of San Pedro this week when an explosion was reported somewhere in the complex of the Clarion Hotel. The police were called. A car in the parking structure was discovered with its glass broken out and a hole in the door. Police called the bomb squad, and because of the ever-present thought of terrorism, the hotel was evacuated. In fact several nearby buildings were evacuated and the main street that runs through San Pedro, Gaffey St., was closed down for a few blocks. The bomb squad sent their robot to investigate, and when they had determined that there were no other bombs in the car, they took a closer look. They determined that the vandalized auto was unrelated to the explosion. While owners were away someone had broken into the car and rifled through it. But it was only discovered now because of the bomb scare. At some point it was determined that someone had set off an M-80 (a giant firecracker) in the parking structure which amplified the noise. The residents were allowed to return and the street was reopened. Several of the displaced families were actually in town awaiting to embark for a Mexican cruise (on the same ship which recently hosted us on the same cruise route). A bus came to transport them to the loading dock.
The whole incident jarred my memory bank. When I was a naughty teen I dropped an M-80 into the mail slot of an apartment building, and I remember that the noise echoed in the hall to the insidious delight of this teen boy. Boys like to blow thing up, you know. Only later did I think about the human effects and hoped that I wouldn't read about a heart attack at that address.