Police Crack Down on Fireworks, Homemade Pyrotechnics Before Holiday

As residents get a head start on the July 4th holiday and set off illegal fireworks heard around the city, Long Beach Police Department is cracking down on the practice early in the hopes of discouraging others from purchasing or making their own explosive devices.

On Monday, July 1, LBPD officers arrested 18-year-old Eric Lopez and booked him for felony possession and manufacture of a destructive device after discovering evidence of three detonated homemade explosive devices in the 2000 block of Adriatic Ave. The suspect was putting materials into plastic bottles and then blowing them up in the street in what police determined to be an attempt at starting the July 4 celebration early. 

“Instructions on making these types of destructive devices can easily be found on the internet and the mere possession of the materials with the intent to manufacture is a felony and punishable by imprisonment,” LBPD stated in a press release. “It’s not only extremely dangerous for the person who is involved in making the device but also those around them. Serious burns, eye injuries, and death can result from this type of activity.”

Police say they will actively enforce laws regarding firework and explosive material possession this holiday, stressing that violators may face a $1000 fine, six-months of jail time or, in some cases, a prison sentence. 

The Long Beach Fire Department has sent out similar warning messages in the last week, including statistics that note in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires in America resulting in eight reported deaths.

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.