Another Fourth of July weekend has come and gone in the Southland. The barbeques and fireworks have finally died down and the work week begins anew.
Many cities had their parades go off without a hitch, despite the shroud that hung over the country’s birthday celebration in the wake of the deadly parade shooting in Highland Park, Ill. Seven people were killed while dozens more were injured; the suspect has since been apprehended and awaits charges.
However, Los Angeles’ own celebrations didn’t go completely unscathed. In the midst of celebrations over the 3-day holiday weekend, familiar incidents cropped up involving illegal fireworks. One person’s life was lost while another’s was badly wounded.
A man in Montebello was injured in an illegal fireworks explosion on Germain Drive on Monday evening. Montebello police were sent to the scene at around 6:30 p.m., according to CBS Los Angeles.
Despite being taken to the hospital for his injuries, he died sometime later on the same night.
In Azusa, another man was injured in the 18000 block of Glenlyn Drive. He was able to survive his ordeal with lacerations to his arms and face, according to City News Service.
Firework Injuries Increasing
Unfortunately, firework-related injuries and deaths aren’t uncommon in the United States. The U.S Consumer Product and Safety Commission reports that firework-related injuries have increased.
From 2006 to 2021, firework-related injuries have increased by 25%, with 11,500 people dead last year due to said injuries. The dangerous trend of playing with fireworks has prompted some form of action in Los Angeles. A Mission Hills buyback event was held over the weekend to curb the number of illegal fireworks present during the most explosive time of the year.
The event, conducted by Los Angeles police and fire department personnel, gave out various gifts for turning in fireworks. Gift cards for retailers like Starbucks, Target, and Starbucks were among the many rewards that residents could receive.
The amount on the different gift cards would vary depending on the weight of fireworks that was turned in, according to City News Service.
Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott explained the danger behind lighting illegal fireworks, “…we understand that historically fireworks are a big part of [Fourth of July].” But we all see another side that the general public does not see, and that’s the significant permanent injuries and the devastating wildfires.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore asked residents to not sour their celebrations by having them show up to confiscate anything. “I will ask Angelenos, don’t put the police department, don’t put these officers in the awkward position of having to mess up your holiday…”
Firework tragedies aside, Los Angeles was able to enjoy most of its Fourth of July celebrations unabated. Parades all over the Southland were in full swing.
You can reach Eloin Barahona-Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.