LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 12-year-old girl suffered a severe eye injury Monday night after someone set off illegal fireworks at a Fourth of July party in South Los Angeles, authorities said.
Erica Rodriquez was being treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Tuesday after being hit by an illegal firework.
“Everyone panicked and I called an ambulance,” said a resident of the home, who didn’t want to be identified.
She said that several kids had been playing with sparklers in the backyard.
“My sister bought them, but they were the legal ones. You know, like the ones they sell in the fireworks stand,” she said.
But the fire department said that all fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles.
Officials believe that a bottle rocket may have shot out of control heading directly at the girl’s face.
“It exploded very close to her eye, actually striking her eye causing the damage to the actual orbit of her eye,” said LAFD Captain Jaime Moore.
“We just heard this nasty boom sound and went outside and she was screaming, ‘My eye. My eye,’” said neighbor Jenny Galindo, who was sitting on her front porch when the incident happened.
She said that several kids had been setting off fireworks before the accident.
“I don’t think that their parents should be buying them those types of things,” she said.
The girl does not live at the residence and had been visiting at the time, said a witness who was with the girl last night when doctors operated on her eye.
“They’re just waiting for her eye to settle down to see what is going to happen, whether she’ll be able to see,” she said.
The remains of fireworks littered the street the day following the accident in the 600 block of West 42 Place, it was unclear who was responsible for the errant bottle rocket.