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October 17, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
A malfunctioning firework caused a dramatic Fourth of July pyrotechnic disaster in Simi Valley that injured dozens of people, fire officials concluded in a report released Thursday. A five-inch-wide firework shell failed to leave its mortar tube and exploded inside, sparking a chain reaction that knocked down the display and sent debris and firework projectiles flying toward about 10,000 spectators watching hundreds of feet away. DRAMATIC VIDEOS OF ACCIDENT The incident was investigated by Cal/OSHA, CalFire and the Ventura County Fire Department.
July 30, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
A blast that rocked an Orange County neighborhood Monday night wasn't caused by some intergalactic visitor, such as a meteor from outer space. Turns out the cause was less "Independence Day" and more of an Independence Day type of salute. The Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad determined that the late-hour blast was "probably a 2-to-3-inch air-burst pyrotechnic mortar, which is a fancy name for a commercial firework, (which is illegal,)" said Lt. Jeff Hallock in a message to the Times.
July 13, 2013
Re "Illegal fireworks spark fear," July 10 Thanks to Steve Lopez for addressing what has become a serious issue in Los Angeles, particularly in the area northwest of downtown where I have lived for 18 years. Being in Glassell Park, a neighborhood of bone-dry hills and grass-filled valleys, we are subjected to this barrage of dangerous illegal fireworks from June to September. This is not a July 4 problem; it is an ongoing quality-of-life problem for tens of thousands of people across the city.
July 10, 2013 | By Steve Lopez
But for a few "don't you have anything better to write about" comments, my column about illegal fireworks being set off by amateurs has generated many more complaints about - illegal fireworks. "How you could omit Highland Park from your article astounds me," wrote a resident of that community. "Hands down, the 90042 ZIP code wins the award for incendiarism. Our neighbors not only set off rounds upon rounds of illegal fireworks, they shoot guns. Being an ex-military family, we know our explosives!
July 10, 2013 | Steve Lopez
It's not that he isn't patriotic. But Shai Levy, a Mid-City resident, doesn't look forward to Independence Day. "On Fourth of July, it's like Beirut here. Or Falloujah," he said of the massive, deafening illegal fireworks displays launched by his neighbors near Fairfax north of the 10 Freeway. And he's not alone. "I was driving home on the Fourth, on Pico, and thought I was in a war zone," said another Mid-City resident, L.A. city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan, who saw people setting off fireworks from the middle of the street.
July 9, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
The same pyrotechnics that malfunctioned in Simi Valley, causing at least one explosive to launch into the crowd , also failed during a Laguna Hills show, according to Bay Fireworks. The fireworks shells were manufactured in China, according to Chief Executive Dennis Brady Jr., who described the two malfunctions as "similar" in an email. "Thankfully we did not experience the same chain reaction," he wrote of the Laguna Hills incident.  This is the second year in a row that the fireworks show in Laguna Hills has been canceled early after a pyrotechnic malfunction, said City Manager Bruce Channing.
July 8, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
A fireworks show that went awry in Simi Valley last week could be a “teachable moment” for the industry, said American Pyrotechnics Assn. Executive Director Julie L. Heckman. As the investigation begins, Heckman said the pyrotechnics association may evaluate whether the distance required between the launch site and spectators needs to change or if operators need more education, among other issues. “Right now we just don't know enough details of what really happened,” she said.
July 6, 2013 | By Kate Mather, Matt Hamilton and Emily Foxhall
Authorities countined to probe the cause of a Simi Valley Fourth of July fireworks accident. In all, more than three dozen people were treated for injuries suffered at the fireworks show. They included a toddler and a 71-year-old. Several remained hospitalized. The chaos was captured in numerous cellphone videos. "Run, run, run, run!" a man can be heard yelling on one of them as explosions filled Rancho Santa Susana Community Park. Simi Valley Police Cmdr. Blair Summey said the incident began when at least one explosive detonated early inside its canister.
July 5, 2013 | By Matt Hamilton, Emily Foxhall and Kurt Streeter
The explosion felt like a sonic boom. Danny Morales, 42, heard it crack through his ears and then felt the sharp blow of a speeding firework that had scorched through a crowd of Fourth of July revelers in Simi Valley, hitting him between the eyes. Blood poured down Morales' face. He looked for his family and friends. Like everyone else, they were sprinting for cover, desperate to get away from the staging area where fireworks were exploding into the crowd instead of into the sky. The Morales family had staked out their front-row seats for the fireworks show two days early.
July 5, 2013 | By Kate Mather, Matt Hamilton and Emily Foxhall
An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people were gathered at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park to watch the show when, officials believe, at least one pyrotechnic prematurely exploded in a mortar, causing a chain reaction that tipped over other fireworks and launched them into the crowd of spectators. Simi Valley police initially said 28 people were injured, including 20 who were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. Additional victims sought treatment on their own. Simi Valley Hospital treated 26 patients, 14 of whom came in by ambulance, according to hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez.
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