Fireworks lead to death, injuries, fires and fines, officials emphasize
By Gina Ender
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Two watermelons, an outfit and a phone book were the casualties of firework explosions behind Los Angeles County Fire Station 126 during a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Two watermelons, an outfit and a phone book were the casualties of firework explosions behind Los Angeles County Fire Station 126 during a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Making a point that fireworks of any kind are completely illegal to use, buy or sell in Los Angeles County, the city of Santa Clarita partnered with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to encourage the public to stay safe on the Fourth of July.

“In addition to the potential grave personal injury to those using them, fireworks can cause brush fires and house fires which can cost millions of dollars in damages and possibly the loss of life,” Barger said.

A phone book explodes during a pyrotechnics demonstration at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In the case of a child causing damages or injuries because of fireworks, their parents are held responsible, the supervisor emphasized.

To educate local children about fireworks safety, Barger invited the Boys and Girls Club to bring a group of kids to the display.

“They definitely got the message,” Boys and Girls Club Director of Administration of Matt Nelson told The Signal.

A boy holds up a piece of watermelon after a fireworks demo blew up two large watermelons at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Matt Young, M.D. with the Grossman Burn Center showed photos of limbs that were harmed because of contact with fireworks, including one of a young girl who was the victim of third degree burns from a firework coming into her backyard from next door.

Fireworks injure more than 10,000 Americans per year, a display cited.

Speakers emphasized that even fireworks labeled “safe and sane” are still off-limits, showing statistics that sparklers account for 16 percent of firework injuries.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby noted two teens that suffered severe hand injuries last year.

There was a 60 percent increase in firework-related incidents last year, with 57 percent of injuries affecting children under 5 years old.

The fire department responded to over 31 fires and over 3,400 incidents related to fireworks in 2016, according to Osby.

“From our perspective, all of that is preventable by operating safe environments and not using fireworks,” Osby said.

The L.A. County Fire Department is going to staff over 50 additional units, dispatchers, patrols and public information officers, the chief said. Over 500 additional personnel will span the county on July 4, he said.

Clothes catch fire and burn during a fireworks demonstration at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The city of Santa Clarita passed an emergency ordinance to warn against fireworks at the Tuesday city council meeting the night before the press conference. City staff is also conducting a citywide fireworks campaign.

“As much as we love this day, we have to follow the law,” Smyth said.

“Santa Clarita is well known for our activities on Independence Day and we want to keep being known for that component, not for a fire or an injury that happened for illegal use of fireworks.”

Fines for fireworks can go up to $2,500, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Patrick Nelson, as well as a year in jail.

There will also be added sheriff’s personnel during the holiday weekend, Nelson said.

In Santa Clarita, there are professional fireworks shows at Valencia Town Center and Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park on July 4 and at Six Flags Magic Mountain from July 1-4.

To dispose of fireworks, contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 661-799-5158. To report illegal fireworks, contact the anonymous crime line at 661-284-2847.

For more information or for a list of professional fireworks shows, visit fire.lacounty.gov.

gender@signalscv.com

661-287-5525

On Twitter as @ginaender

About the author

Gina Ender

Gina Ender

Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017. You can contact Gina Ender at gender@signalscv.com, 661-287-5525 or follow her on Twitter at @ginaender.

Fireworks lead to death, injuries, fires and fines, officials emphasize

Two watermelons, an outfit and a phone book were the casualties of firework explosions behind Los Angeles County Fire Station 126 during a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Two watermelons, an outfit and a phone book were the casualties of firework explosions behind Los Angeles County Fire Station 126 during a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Making a point that fireworks of any kind are completely illegal to use, buy or sell in Los Angeles County, the city of Santa Clarita partnered with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to encourage the public to stay safe on the Fourth of July.

“In addition to the potential grave personal injury to those using them, fireworks can cause brush fires and house fires which can cost millions of dollars in damages and possibly the loss of life,” Barger said.

A phone book explodes during a pyrotechnics demonstration at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In the case of a child causing damages or injuries because of fireworks, their parents are held responsible, the supervisor emphasized.

To educate local children about fireworks safety, Barger invited the Boys and Girls Club to bring a group of kids to the display.

“They definitely got the message,” Boys and Girls Club Director of Administration of Matt Nelson told The Signal.

A boy holds up a piece of watermelon after a fireworks demo blew up two large watermelons at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Matt Young, M.D. with the Grossman Burn Center showed photos of limbs that were harmed because of contact with fireworks, including one of a young girl who was the victim of third degree burns from a firework coming into her backyard from next door.

Fireworks injure more than 10,000 Americans per year, a display cited.

Speakers emphasized that even fireworks labeled “safe and sane” are still off-limits, showing statistics that sparklers account for 16 percent of firework injuries.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby noted two teens that suffered severe hand injuries last year.

There was a 60 percent increase in firework-related incidents last year, with 57 percent of injuries affecting children under 5 years old.

The fire department responded to over 31 fires and over 3,400 incidents related to fireworks in 2016, according to Osby.

“From our perspective, all of that is preventable by operating safe environments and not using fireworks,” Osby said.

The L.A. County Fire Department is going to staff over 50 additional units, dispatchers, patrols and public information officers, the chief said. Over 500 additional personnel will span the county on July 4, he said.

Clothes catch fire and burn during a fireworks demonstration at Fire Station 126 on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The city of Santa Clarita passed an emergency ordinance to warn against fireworks at the Tuesday city council meeting the night before the press conference. City staff is also conducting a citywide fireworks campaign.

“As much as we love this day, we have to follow the law,” Smyth said.

“Santa Clarita is well known for our activities on Independence Day and we want to keep being known for that component, not for a fire or an injury that happened for illegal use of fireworks.”

Fines for fireworks can go up to $2,500, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Patrick Nelson, as well as a year in jail.

There will also be added sheriff’s personnel during the holiday weekend, Nelson said.

In Santa Clarita, there are professional fireworks shows at Valencia Town Center and Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park on July 4 and at Six Flags Magic Mountain from July 1-4.

To dispose of fireworks, contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 661-799-5158. To report illegal fireworks, contact the anonymous crime line at 661-284-2847.

For more information or for a list of professional fireworks shows, visit fire.lacounty.gov.

gender@signalscv.com

661-287-5525

On Twitter as @ginaender

About the author

Gina Ender

Gina Ender

Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017. You can contact Gina Ender at gender@signalscv.com, 661-287-5525 or follow her on Twitter at @ginaender.