Firefighters crack down on illegal fireworks

July 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for firefighters. While local residents were enjoying barbecues and block parties, firefighters at Station 33 were responding to calls for help. Authorities were also on the lookout for any signs of illegal fireworks.

Although fireworks are a big part of the Fourth of July celebration, they can be dangerous. Fireworks can blow off the hand of a mannequin. Even a simple sparkler can burn at 2000 degrees.

"Not only are fireworks illegal in the city but they're dangerous and throughout the years, we've seen many needless injuries because of the illegal fireworks," said Craig Poulson of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

According to the Consumers Production Safety Commission, more than 5,000 people had to go to emergency rooms nationwide last year around the Fourth of July due to firework related injuries.

In the city of Los Angeles, firefighters say they see just about everything.

"They have M-80's, skyrockets, quarter sticks of dynamite, everything, anything you can imagine," said Poulson. "They buy the fireworks and they think they're going to have a good time and they're having a good time but they don't realize the burn injuries, the finger injuries, the hand injuries."

Investigators find thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks every year. Not only can people get injured, firefighters say setting fireworks off sometimes results in fires.

An apartment complex burned down last year and officials said fireworks were being stored inside.

"There are plenty of professional fireworks shows all throughout the city so we're trying to just mitigate any type of hazard," said Poulson. "In the city of Los Angeles, fireworks are illegal. We encourage residents to enjoy the 4th of July, but safely."

Possession of fireworks in the city of Los Angeles is punishable by a $1,000 fine and or one year in jail.


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