HACIENDA HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) – The Fourth of July ended in tragedy for one family after they lost their home in a blaze started by stray fireworks.
Joseph Lopez and his wife lived in their Hacienda Heights home for 14 years before someone in their neighborhood lit the firework that left it burned and boarded up.
They were cleaning up after hosting a Fourth of July BBQ for their church members when a neighbor started banging on their door screaming for them to get out.
“It was pretty much at that point just hoping to get out … ran back downstairs and just basically watched the house burn,” Lopez said.
Their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, along with two dogs and five cats, were inside at the time. They all managed to get out but one cat died and two other cats are in critical condition.
“Four cars are a total loss. The contents of the garage … a lot of personal things like pictures. We had bins with all of our family pictures,” Lopez said.
They also lost all their clothes and their most prized possession: both of their fathers were servicemen and their burial American flags are gone now too.
“Some tough things like that … but you know we are alive so we’re doing OK,” Lopez said.
Neighbors like Cindy Shay saw the fire happen. She took some of their cats to a local emergency vet and has now started a GoFundMe account for the family.
“It shouldn’t have happened. I mean, to lose a family home because of stupidity … ” Shay said.
As for the person responsible, the family says he stayed on scene to talk to investigators and he is very apologetic.
The family is now living in a hotel.
Details on how you can help are on the family’s GoFundMe page.