LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 12-year-old girl will be permanently blind in her right eye after getting hit in the face with fireworks on the Fourth of July, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles officials confirmed Wednesday.

Erika Rodriguez was injured while playing with friends in the 600 block of West 42nd Place in South Los Angeles late Monday night. CBS2/KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen reported that Erika was likely hit in the face with a bottle rocket.

“The patient suffered a very severe injury to her right eye from a direct hit by an exploding firework that resulted in severe trauma to the eye,” her surgeon, Dr. Thomas Lee, said. “We did surgery to remove the firework that was lodged in her eye socket. As a result of the injury, she unfortunately will be permanently blind in her right eye. She was fortunate that the left eye did not suffer any damage from the firework explosion.”

A woman identified only as “Yolani,” who lives at her home where the accident happened, said her sister bought the fireworks as, but that they were “safe and sane” fireworks from a legal fireworks booth. However, firefighters say all fireworks, even the “safe and sane” type, are illegal in the city of Los Angeles.

The girl does not live in South LA and was visiting with her family, the family said.

It was unclear if a criminal investigation was being conducted in connection with the girl’s injury.

(©2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (41)
  1. Ashamed says:

    What the hell r u doing going to of all places South Central LA for the 4th of July? A show would have been a lot better than the ghetto. You can avoid certain situations and this was one of them.

    1. 1stman says:

      Loose?…how about you learn how to spell first before trying to insult someone. Some of my family members are English teachers if you need the tutoring?

      1. UR-Sofa-King-Stoopid says:

        Yes please list your family members credentials, addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, ss#’s and whatnot so we can contact them mr grammar police. Doy doy duh uh duh.

      2. 1stman says:


        You probably couldn’t’ afford the tutoring anyways.

      3. UR-Sofa-King-Stoopid says:

        Yes please list your family members credentials, addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, ss#’s and whatnot so we can contact them mr grammar police. Doy doy duh uh duh.

      4. 1stman says:

        You probably can’t afford the tutoring anyway.

      5. Get-A-Fa-King_LIFE says:

        go pound sand up your brown butt (or just let your boyfriend do it) See ya loser.

    2. Saber 1 says:

      Enough said, South Central Mudflap town. You give an ILLEGAL ALIEN fireworks with out monitoring them, your lucky to get out alive. To bad they weren’t playing with bombs.

  2. Tina says:

    Such a sad story I’m going to continue to pray that God will restore her sight in that right eye.

    1. Sam Skwirl says:

      you are so funny… keep up the good work. (Although the bible beaters will never learn & I know you realize that)

  3. leo stauch says:

    I hope you’ve got some mighty powerful knee pads there Tina. Until we figure out eye transplants, this poor girl will have to live with this regret the rest of her life.

    1. SAVED says:

      As a matter of fact Leo my friend just passed away from cancer and donated both her eyes to other people allowing them both to see again. I am sorry if you have no faith in God but He knows all about this and He has a plan for this young girl.

      1. laytonian says:

        There’s no such thing as a total eye transplant, “Saved”.

        At best, your friend’s corneas will be transplanted.

      2. Sam Skwirl says:

        You are so gullible. If god has not figured the eye transplants out then what makes you think a mere mortal can do it? Maybe if you pray hard enough… and flagellate yourself 3 times daily….then Jesus will come back as an optical surgeon, pop an eye out of a “sinner” with a grapefruit spoon and press it into this girls dead eye socket.. then he (or she – or maybe a shemale) will spin around and then speak in Aramaic tongues restoring this poor poor girls sight to 20-20 eagle vision.
        Then again, maybe not…. but you must pray or it def. wont happen. ~ Lulz

  4. swhitS says:

    4th July on my street is like a battlefield and leave their mess for the street cleaners. I won’t stay here during and hope like hell they haven’t blown up my house in the interim so can’t say I am surprised by this. The kids are encouraged to get close and set them off. The cop station is 2 blocks away and they do nothing because it is unfriendly to Latinos and besides, didn’t ya know the law is only for Americans.

    1. Sam Skwirl says:

      You are lucky, where I live everyday is like a battleground.

    2. Susan says:

      WHY should the cops come…You all hate them anyways. They will leave you all to your own demise. Stop hating on them and maybe they will do something in your ghettos.

  5. Jim Gates says:

    where were the parents to let their daughter so close to the fireworks

    1. allison says:

      oh come on, i grew up setting off fireworks with my pop right next to me

      1. Duh! says:

        The point is, you pop was right next to you showing you how to do it without killing yourself.

        Why was this girls parents not there to tell the kids not to shoot bottle rockets (which are not safe and sane and cannot be purchased from a fireworks booth) at each other.

    2. Sam Skwirl says:

      Duh… uh doy doy doy… they were drunk or high obviously.. It WAS the 4th of July in SO LA.

  6. Jim Gates says:

    cops only show up if someone snitches on someone shooting them off but no one snitches because they want to see the show

  7. 1stman says:

    Where in the article does it say she’s an illegal? Don’t be an idiot. I know it might be difficult for you to do that.

    1. 1stman says:

      80% percent? Did you just pull that out of your ass? U.S. history books don’t even tell the truth at times. Why would I read what is most likely agenda driven biased book against immigrants.

  8. dave says:

    There’s no such thing as a safe firework.

    1. Sam Skwirl says:

      Then you never had the pleasure of an old fashioned “snake”… and not huge ones like on that funny episode South Park lol ~I think Kenny died from it ;,-(

      1. Duh! says:

        Snakes were cool.
        You only got burned if you were stupid enough to hold it in your hand when you lit it (which is probably something Dave would do based on his post).

  9. jennifer stachowiak says:

    Once a retina is detached there will never be site again. Poor girl is only 12 and has to live with this injury the rest of her life. I feel very bad for her she was only trying to have fun with some friends. It’s just to bad some kids parents have better things to do then supervise there children

    1. Sam Skwirl says:

      WORD MoFo!

      “It’s just to bad some kids parents have better things to do then supervise there children”

    2. Joseph A. Ferrell says:

      mrs. stachowiak my uncle was sot in the head at point blank range in the late 80s in riverside, california with a .38 calibur pistol. his retina was completely detached from his eye. several specialist confirmed he would never see out of that eye again. 15 years later and after a lot of prayer his retina reattached to his eye and with a very minor cataract surgery he was able to regain full vision. it was s miracle from God no doubt. Every doctor he saw at that time was in astonishment. There was no way in the world he was ever supposed to see again. They all said it was a miracle. There is no doubt it was God. No other explanation. His name was Nathan Owen White. GOD BLESS!

  10. Swell_swell says:

    While it is unfortunate that this young woman has lost sight in one eye, she can still grow up to live a full and fulfilling life. She will still be able to drive and do nearly anything someone who has sight in both eyes can do (except pilot an airplane). I know because I was born with sight in only one eye. I need to be careful to protect that eye but I can do anything anyone else can do and I don’t let anyone feel sorry for me. I just get more determined to do what I want!

  11. laytonian says:

    There’s no such thing as an “anchor baby”.

    Illegal parents are deported every day. The “baby” could only keep them from being deported, if the “baby” was over 21 and financially responsible for all of them.

    Please, educate yourself. Your silliness is causing reasonable people to disregard your statements.

  12. Sam Skwirl says:

    LoL…. anchor Babies!

  13. Radiolarian says:

    If your god’s plan is for a little girl to lose her sight, he’s an a$$.

  14. USA says:

    Dumb anchor baby got what she deserved as her mom should have bred her litter in messico not here! The mom could not even speak english, what a shock!

  15. Toms says:

    Dumb illegals burdening our medical staffs. For the girl “You can’t spell INS without an I ” LOL!

  16. april says:

    My dad was playing with bottle rockets once and one got me. That had got to hurt does not even cover the pain she must have felt.

  17. Betty Blower says:

    man this is sad poor young girl
    get well soon

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