ARCADIA >> A teenage boy suffered “severe” injuries and a second boy suffered minor injuries while setting off a firework at a park in Arcadia on Friday night, police said.
The incident was first reported about 8:05 p.m. as an explosion at Bonita Park, at Bonita Street and 2nd Avenue, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Officials arrived to find two boys, ages 14 and 17, who had been injured by a firework, he said.
The younger boy suffered “severe” injuries to one of his hands, according to the sergeant. The older boy’s injuries were described as minor.
Both were taken to a hospital for treatment, Crowther said. An update on the badly injured boy’s condition was not available.
It was not clear exactly what type of firework was involved in the incident.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking man and woman who tossed a firework into brush in front of the Villa Parke Community Center in Pasadena on Independence Day, scorching several hundred square feet of shrubbery, singing the building and causing a natural gas leak, officials said.
The fire ignited just before 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday in the planters in front of the community center at 363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
“Some witnesses saw two people come up and throw a firework into the area,” the lieutenant said. They were described only as a Latino man and woman in their 30s. The woman was wearing a white dress.
The fire spread through the shrub-filled planters in front of the community center and made its way up against the building, causing minor damage, Hettema said. The fire damaged a natural gas regular, sending the flammable gas seeping into the air.
Firefighters made quick work of the fire and prevented serious damage to the structure, a city-owned facility used often for community events and programs, officials said.
Several palm tree fires in the city on Tuesday were also suspected to be the result of illegal fireworks, Hettema said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.
PASADENA >> Police serving a search warrant at a Pasadena home this weekend discovered several pounds of marijuana, as well as the city’s largest single illegal fireworks seizure in recent history at more than 360 pounds, authorities said.
Stacy James Callum, 40, of Pasadena and Derrick Lamar Johnson, also known as Derrick Callum, 40, of Pasadena were booked on suspicion of felony marijuana possession and misdemeanor possession of illegal fireworks, according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records. The arrests took place about 6:30 p.m. Saturday at a home in the 1800 block of Navarro Avenue.
Officers arrived at the home with a warrant as part of an ongoing drug-related investigation, Lt. Vasken Gourdkian said. The search and arrests took place without incident.
“During the investigation, several pounds of marijuana was seized along with a large cache of illegal fireworks in excess of 360 pounds,” Gourdikian said. The specific amount of marijuana seized was not available.
“The category of the fireworks were dangerous and illegal to possess in the State of California and County of Los Angeles,” the lieutenant said in a written statement.
“This is the single largest seizure of fireworks within the City’s recent history,” according to Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
Last year, for example, police and firefighters confiscated a total of less than 100 pounds of fireworks during the entire Independence Day season. The task force will continue seeking out fireworks violators through Monday.
All fireworks are illegal in Pasadena.
According to county booking records, both suspect were released from jail Sunday pending their initial court appearances after posting $20,000 bail each.
EAST LOS ANGELES >> Sheriff’s deputies who happened upon an illegal fireworks transaction ultimately seized more than 1,000 pounds of dangerous and illegal fireworks from an East Los Angeles home and arrested two suspects Thursday night, authorities said.
Joseph Valencia, 46, and Daniel Guerrero, 44, are accused of illegal possession of explosives and possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Cruz said in a written statement.
Deputies were patrolling about 11:30 p.m. in the 5200 block of Repetto Street when they spotted Valencia selling illegal fireworks to another man from a parked car, Cruz said.
“Through a brief investigation, the deputies discovered the suspect resided few properties away from where the vehicle was parked,” the sergeant said. “After searching Joseph Valencia’s residence, the deputies discovered between 1,000 (and) 1,500 pounds of illegal fireworks.” The stash included 49 explosive fireworks commonly known as M-80s.
Guerrero’s specific role in the fireworks sales was not clear Friday.
All fireworks, including those designated “Safe and Sane,” are banned in unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.
AZUSA >> An online tipster led police to discover about 850 pounds of illegal fireworks from a residential garage in Azusa Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The investigation began after a tipster reported that fireworks were being stored and sold out of the garage of a home in the 200 block of E. Azusa Lane via the city’s software application, Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said in a written statement.
Police, code enforcement officers and Los Angeles County firefighters followed up on the tip and discovered the 850 or so pounds of fireworks, valued at more than $8,000, Torres said.
No arrests were made Wednesday, police said.
“The investigation is ongoing and charges against the homeowner may be filed at a later time with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for possession of destructive devices,” Torres said.
Police reminded residents that only fireworks designated “Safe and Sane” are permitted in Azusa. The use of illegal fireworks carries a $1,000 fine.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> Police seized as much as 500 pounds of illegal fireworks from a South Whittier home Thursday as Independence Day approached amid a severe drought, officials said.
Whittier police and other officers from the San Gabriel Valley East AB 109 Task Force made the discovery about 11 a.m. at a house in the 11600 block of Allerton Street, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins said.
The team was performing a routine compliance check at the home of an AB 109 probationer when they discovered between 350 and 500 pounds of dangerous and illegal fireworks, the officers said. No one was home at the time, and no arrests were made as the investigation continued.
Police turned the fireworks over to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
PHOTO by Keith Durflinger
AZUSA — Investigators suspect arson after a car was torched in a senior citizen’s driveway about 45 minutes after she told a group of people to stop lighting illegal fireworks near her home in an unincorporated county area near Azusa, authorities said.
Officials stopped short of calling the woman and two men who argued with the 66-year-old woman suspects in the apparent arson, however detectives were investigating their possible involvement and wanted to speak with them, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andy Berg said.
“We find it an interesting coincidence,” the lieutenant said.
Deputies responded to reports of a car in flames just after 1 a.m. at the woman’s home in the 18600 block of Mauna Loa Avenue, sheriff’s officials said.
By the time firefighters extinguished the burning vehicle, a 1999 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to the woman’s son, it had been completely destroyed, Berg said. The car was valued at about $3,000.
A 1997 Saturn parked nearby was also damaged by the flames, officials said. The car sustained about $2,000 worth of heat damage to its hood and driver side.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail were looking into exactly how the fire ignited.
“Based on the fact the Camaro had not been driven for 2 days, and because of evidence at the scene, fire department officials suspect that the fire was intentionally started,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
About 45 minutes prior to the fire, the woman had confronted a woman and two men lighting illegal “mortar”-style fireworks near her home.
“She asked them not to light any more fireworks, and told the group she would be calling the police,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “A woman in the group engaged in a brief argument with the resident.”
The resident did not recognize the woman or the men she was with, Berg said. The woman was described as white or Latina, about 40 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 150 pounds. A description of the men was not available.
Dispatch records show the resident did not call deputies to report the fireworks or the argument, officials said.
But another resident about a block and a half away had called the sheriff’s department to report illegal fireworks at 12:53 a.m., after the argument but before the fire ignited.
Deputies arrived four minutes later, but did not locate any suspicious persons or illegal activity,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “The fire was first reported at 1:12 a.m.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s San Dimas Station.
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, officials said.
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 the station.