Public safety officials urged Southland residents today to leave fireworks to the pros and attend a public display on the Fourth of July.
In some cases, setting off fireworks in Los Angeles County be prosecuted as a felony, sheriff's Detective Enrique Velazquez of the explosives detail said at a multi-agency news conference.
"If you are caught, it can be a felony and you'll spend your Fourth of July behind bars," Velazquez said.
To demonstrate the danger, a professional detonated fireworks and exploded watermelons to demonstrate the potentially lethal power of fireworks.
"We've had fingers blown off, people damage their eyes, burns. It's very dangerous," he said.
In some Los Angeles County cities, safe and sane fireworks, such as sparklers, are permitted. But any fireworks that explode or fly are illegal. Those approved by the state fire marshal carry "Safe and Sane" labels.
—City News Service