Illegal, middle-of-the-street fireworks shows are a staple in July in Los Angeles, but they're pretty strange to the uninitiated (kinda fun, but also kinda nervewracking)--why doesn't anyone seem to care that people are lighting up massive fireworks in the middle of residential neighborhoods? (Fireworks are legal to sell in a lot of cities in Los Angeles County, but the really spectacular ones tend to come from far out of town or out of state [Nevada].) Steve Lopez writes in the LA Times today that home fireworks are indeed illegal, "But that doesn't stop the amateurs, who have been lighting up the sky for years across the city, particularly in Echo Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Some residents say the only change has been that the fireworks displays are bigger, louder and longer than ever, frightening pets, waking toddlers and spiking fears about accidental fires." Buena Park residents are blaming a house fire this year on a rogue bottle rocket. The LAPD responds that "We'd rather prevent it than going around citing people"--they made their usual round of warnings this year and the new city attorney promised scofflaws would be prosecuted. Surprisingly (because boy was it lit up like Christmas all over town), the LAPD confiscated 8,000 pounds of fireworks this year, and in the Wilshire division alone, there were 17 officers assigned to "fireworks reduction." Still, there were very few citations actually written.
· Illegal fireworks in Mid-City spark irritation and fear [LAT]