(Updated Dec. 7, 2018)


On October 30, 2018 at 5:58PM the Los Angeles Port Police received a report of a container explosion at a Port of Los Angeles container terminal. A Unified Command was established with Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, US Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, CHP, container terminal management and ILWU labor representatives.

A preliminary investigation determined that a 40-foot container was delivered earlier in the day to the container terminal, along with 11 other containers from a regional recycling facility. The containers were scheduled for delivery to Taiwan. The involved container was not marked as containing hazardous materials and the manifest indicated clean scrap iron or heavy melting scrap only.

An initial analysis by the Los Angeles Port Police Hazardous Materials Unit, Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad and United States Coast Guard indicated that a form of combustible fuel was ignited in the sealed container. Further investigation by the Los Angeles Port Police Hazardous Materials Unit confirmed and concluded that this was an industrial accident caused by a 40-pound propane tank being loaded into the container without being made safe for recycling and transport.

A Los Angeles Port Police Hazmat Incident Report of the investigation has been submitted in accordance with the Los Angeles City Attorney Environmental Justice Division’s requirements. The incident is under review by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. Hazardous materials cases of this type can take several months to review and analyze.

While Los Angeles Port Police has concluded its investigation, the U.S. Coast Guard, in conjunction with other local agencies, continues to review the procedures of the company involved to prevent future industrial accidents of this nature.  The company involved in this industrial accident has been completely cooperative and responsive throughout the investigation.

A safe and secure supply chain is our top priority at the Port of Los Angeles. We will continue to work closely with our agency partners to ensure the safety and security of all operations.

Media Contacts:



Phillip Sanfield
Director of Media Relations
(310) 732-3568