An explosion and fire at North County Correctional Facility at the PItches Detention Center injured four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies, two of whom were critically wounded. NCCF is in Castaic in northern Los Angeles County. The four deputies were rushed by radio car to Henry Mayo Medical Center a few miles from the NCCF. As of this moment, there is no information on the current condition of the deputies.
On the premises of the facility, a fire was said to be burning in a portable trailer. It could have been a mobile shooting range. Authorities reported that firefighters continued to try and douse the fire for more than an hour.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department described the incident as “training” and said that two deputies had to be transported to hospital for treatment. It was not immediately clear how serious their injuries are.
Investigations are still ongoing to determine the cause of this fire.
The deputies were transported to the hospital by radio car before the LA County Fire Department could arrive at the scene. The four deputies all suffered serious burns and unknown injuries. Pitches Detention Facility, located in a large compound, has many facilities. These include four jails, a SWAT facility, a track for Emergency Vehicle Operators Course, and an additional full-size shooting range used to train academy students and professionals. Pitches is also known as Wayside and covers over 2,600 acres.
The mobile range is located outside of the building. The mobile range is a trailer that’s commonly found on semi-trucks. These range trailers, like any indoor shooting range, are equipped with air filtration and industrial-strength ventilators that remove gunpowder residue and lead particles from the air. This keeps the interior of the trailer safe to use. The ranges store ammunition in heavy-duty lockers outside the trailers, along with air filtration systems.
The entire department uses a range of trailers, some of which are permanently stationed in detention centers like NCCF. Some are moved around the county, to patrol stations and facilities farther from the two permanent weapons ranges of the department. One is located at Wayside, and the other is at the Biscaluz training center in East Los Angeles. All sworn officers, including LA County Security Officers, use the trailers to meet their quarterly requirements for all weapons used on duty and off duty. They also qualify for “exceptional status” like Expert Marksman, or Distinguished marksman.
These trailers were heavily used by me as a mobile range operator. The maintenance was extensive and frequent. The trailers have a desk for the operator and two shooting stations with electronic target systems. These can be adjusted to ranges between one and 25 yards. This is an important task. There is a large amount of equipment that needs to be maintained. It is impossible to say exactly what happened today, but it’s possible that the filtration system failed or the filters had become saturated with gunpowder and lead residue, which could have ignited and exploded.