Nothing can put a damper on holiday spirit worse than ending up in jail. City officials in South Bay cities and in the City of Los Angeles are hoping the public will adhere to the rules of firework safety, obey the laws, and avoid spending July 4th behind bars.
This year, law enforcement agencies will be out in full force, cracking down on illegal fireworks activities. Residents say it’s about time.
Detectives, working in conjunction with the L.A. County Fire Dept., located an estimated 18 tons of illegal fireworks inside a Gardena warehouse, in the 13000 block of Halldale Ave. This is one of the largest, if the not largest, seizures of illegal fireworks in the city.
Over the past two weeks, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced, his city has confiscated more than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from downtown’s Toy District and Chinatown.
One store owner faces up to one year in jail and $21,000 in fines after inspectors confiscated more than 580 pounds of illegal fireworks from his store.
Every year around this time, emergency rooms become packed with young children, average ages from 5 to 9 years old, injured from playing with dangerous explosives. Others report serious damage to their homes and cars. With the state undergoing a severe drought, illegal fireworks only add to the problem.
Local police and fire department vehicles become filled with confiscated fireworks that were illegally obtained. It’s a huge problem that seems to get worse each year. People bring in fireworks from other states or from Mexico, to be illegally sold or for personal use.
There is some confusion over what is or is not considered legal, however. Some are not aware that fireworks are not allowed in certain areas, and some, frankly do not care. To be clear, fireworks are allowed locally, only in the South Bay cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena and Carson. They are prohibited in El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, San Pedro, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. They are banned totally in the City of Los Angeles, which includes the Harbor Area, Westchester and Playa del Rey.
Only “safe and sane” fireworks—those that don’t fly or explode, such as sparklers and fountains—are deemed legal. The loud, explosive kinds (i.e. firecrackers and cherry bombs) are forbidden.
In Inglewood, where fireworks are legal, there is an ordinance that limits their use from June 29 to July 4, and from 10am to 10pm. Mayor James Butts reached out to residents through a statement published in Inglewood Today (June 19, 2014), explaining what is and is not legal in Inglewood.
Locally, cities are taking a zero-tolerance approach this year—even those where personal fireworks are legal.
Gardena is only allowing fireworks to be sold this week, and to be discharged on July 4th, from noon to 10 pm. Fireworks can be set off between 6 pm and midnight on the holiday in Carson.
You can avoid jail and possibly injury to yourself or others by sticking with fireworks that are legal within cities where they are allowed. Anyone who wants to dispose of fireworks already purchased can do so at local fire stations. To report illegal fireworks activity in the City of Inglewood, call (310) 412-8771.
Fourth of July Shows
Marina del Rey. Fireworks can be seen from Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park, and Mother’s Beach, beginning at 9pm. Call (310) 305-9545 or visit www.marinadelrey.com
Culver City. Fireworks show will be at West Los Angeles College, 9000 Overland Avenue, Culver City, from 4pm. (310) 287-4597.
Redondo Beach. Events held throughout the day, beginning at 2pm. Fireworks show at 9pm. Seaside Lagoon, 200 Portofino Way. Visit www.redondofireworks.com.