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Police Crack Down On Illegal Fireworks Before July 4th Holiday

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — With the July Fourth holiday less than a week away, police and fire officials are cautioning the public about the risks of injury and fire posed by illegal fireworks.

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports those risks were the focus of a news conference and professional pyrotechnic display Thursday at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s training center on Stadium Way.

The chiefs of the Los Angeles city and county fire departments were on hand, along with Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca, a supervisor from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, representatives from the Grossman Burn Center, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

Earlier this week, authorities seized 8,000 pounds of illegal mortars, bottle rockets, roman candles and other commercial-grade fireworks worth more than $20,000.

Deputies from the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station went to a public storage facility in the 10900 block of Firestone Boulevard Tuesday to follow up on a tip about a large quantity of illegal fireworks stored there. A Sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau explosive detection K-9 alerted to the suspected storage locker, which contained 91 cases of illegal fireworks.

The fireworks were turned over to the Los Angeles County Fire Department for safe disposal. In the wrong hands, such fireworks holds the potential for fires and major burns.

Long Beach police and fire department officials are warning residents that any item that explodes, rises in the air and moves about on the ground, or any fireworks not labeled “Safe and Sane” by the State Fire Marshal, is illegal in the state of California.

Anyone cited for possessing or discharging fireworks, even sparklers, faces a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both, according to a department statement.

For a full list of professional fireworks displays in Los Angeles County, click here.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
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