Fireworks keep officials busy, but cause no major incidents in the San Gabriel Valley


Police officers and sheriff’s deputies throughout the San Gabriel Valley kept busy handling fireworks complaints late Friday and early Saturday, though no major mishaps directly blamed on fireworks had been reported once the celebratory smoke had cleared, authorities said.
The Whittier Police Department, which patrols both Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, responded to 102 fireworks compliants between noon Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Eighty-seven of the calls came from Whittier, while 15 came from Santa Fe Springs.
An attic fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. at a home in the 12000 block of South Circle Avenue, though the cause had not yet been determined, Whittier Police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Investigators had not ruled out fireworks as a possible cause of the fire, which scorched the home’s attic but did not displace the residents living there, police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
Several tree fires in the Whittier area were also blamed on fireworks, but no additional structure fires were blamed on Independence Day celebration, fire officials added.
Deputies at the nearby sheriff’s Norwalk Station, which patrols Norwalk, La Mirada and nearby unincorporated county areas, responded to 112 fireworks calls, Lt. Jason Skeen said. Between 1 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, deputies issued 121 fireworks citations, and seized 85 pounds of illegal fireworks.
Specific statistics regarding the number of fireworks calls received by police was not available Saturday in Montebello, however Lt. Andy Vuncanon said the department responded to more than 150 calls overnight, which were primarily complaints about fireworks and loud parties.
Montebello firefighters assisted neighboring agencies with trash can fires throughout the region, however no significant fires were reported within the city, fire department officials said.
Deputies at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station responded to a total of 96 fireworks-related calls between noon Friday and 2:10 a.m. Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.
Lt. Andy Berg said the figure falls in line with previous Independence Days, with about 20 percent of the fireworks complaints coming from San Dimas, and 80 percent coming from the nearby unincorporated county areas also patrolled by
And while no major problems were directly attributed to fireworks, officials suspected the arson fire of a parked car in an unincorporated county area near Azusa may have been related to an argument between a resident and a group of people setting off illegal fireworks.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Industry Station, which patrols Industry, La Puente, Hacienda Heights, La Habra Heights, and nearby unincorporated areas, handled 82 fireworks-related calls between 9 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday, Sgt. Robert Boese said. No major incidents were reported.
La Puente hosted a massive Independence Day celebration at La Puente Park July 3, which drew an estimated 20,000 spectators.
Covina police received 47 complaints regarding fireworks Friday, primarily at night, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
Toward the western end of the San Gabriel Valley, a fire reported about 7 p.m. at a detached residential garage in the 600 block of West Lime Avenue in Monrovia was determined not to have been ignited by fireworks, but rather a malfunctions egg incubator machine, Monrovia police lt. Jaime Alfaro said. No injuries were reported, though officials were worried about the structural integrity of the building.
A fire reported just before 4 a.m. inside a detached garage along Winnie Way, just west of Santa Anita Avenue, in Arcadia caused minor damage and no injuries, Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Barry Spriggs said. The cause had not been determined Saturday.
Statistics regarding fireworks-related calls were not available in Pasadena Saturday, however Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said officials saw a “relatively low number” of fireworks-related incidents at the Rose Bowl during the Americafest Independence Day celebration.
Police made only one arrest during the massive event at the Rose Bowl, which attracted tens of thousands of spectators, both inside the stadium and around the outside, Pasadena police Lt. Art Chute said. The arrest was for drunken driving in the stadium parking lot.

PHOTO by Sarah Reingewirtz

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