LA County Sheriff’s Department Faces Hefty Fines Over Deadly Shooting Range Explosion

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is facing significant fines for safety violations that led to a tragic explosion at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. The explosion claimed the life of one deputy, Alfredo “Freddy” Flores, who succumbed to his injuries six months after the incident. Additionally, another deputy was critically injured, underscoring the serious nature of the violations that occurred at the mobile shooting range.

Following the explosion, investigators pointed to various safety lapses that significantly contributed to the tragedy. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued a report outlining several workplace citations and recommended fines totaling $301,000. These citations highlighted failures in maintaining adequate records of inspections, identifying workplace hazards, and preventing the accumulation of combustible materials within the shooting range.

The report also revealed that the sheriff’s department was aware of unsafe working conditions at the range but failed to take sufficient action to mitigate the risks. Inspectors emphasized the importance of following manufacturer recommendations for preventive maintenance and ensuring proper storage of combustible materials to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In light of the safety violations identified, the LA County Sheriff’s Department has appealed the citations while emphasizing the paramount importance of personnel safety. The department has taken immediate steps to close all mobile ranges and relocate firearm qualifications to alternative facilities to avoid further risks to deputies and staff members.

Moving forward, the department is committed to conducting a thorough investigation into the range fire, working closely with legal counsel to address the OSHA violations and prioritize safety measures for all personnel. The tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of upholding safety standards in law enforcement training environments to prevent avoidable accidents and protect the well-being of all individuals involved.