Illegal fireworks--how to report their use

Published on April 01, 2024

Woman holding phone seeing illegal fireworks
  • If you see or hear illegal fireworks currently in use, call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500
  • If illegal fireworks are not currently in use, but you know the address where they are repeatedly being used, the best way to report it is by using the Lakewood Connect App. Get ready by downloading the app to your smartphone (Apple App store or Google Play) in advance. 
  • Or, you can report known addresses of repeat illegal fireworks users by calling City Hall’s customer service team at 562-866-9771, ext. 2140. If after hours, leave a message with as much information as possible, including the address or cross streets of the location.

“The problem of illegal fireworks use has grown in recent years throughout California and the nation, and it doesn’t matter whether a community allows or disallows the use of safe-and-sane fireworks,” said Lakewood City Manager Thaddeus McCormack. “The problem of illegal fireworks is the same in both types of communities.

'Safe and Sane' fireworks

Lakewood, like many communities in California, allows the use of “safe-and-sane” fireworks approved by the State Fire Marshal on the day of July 4th only between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. 

‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks do not explode or go into the air and feature the State Fire Marshal seal on the packaging. Their sound does not travel far. And families can enjoy them responsibly as part of a fun…and safe…July 4th celebration. Their use also benefits Lakewood community groups that sell them at stands throughout the city between July 1-4. 

However, some people make the fateful decision each year to purchase and use fireworks that are illegal in California for personal use. These include skyrockets and explosives…all of which are illegal in California and dangerous to use…especially in highly populated residential neighborhoods like Lakewood where they can start slowly developing roof fires on nearby houses and traumatize pets and people, including veterans who may be suffering from combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you’re thinking of using illegal fireworks (or allowing them on your property)...did you know?

1. Some combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be traumatized by illegal fireworks. The U.S. Marine Corps urges Americans to be considerate of the veterans living among us when it comes to illegal fireworks use. A Marine veteran of two tours in Iraq said he can prepare for events like the annual fireworks display that his hometown puts on at a certain time. But the sudden rat-a-tat of firecrackers set off by his neighbors throughout the night transports him back to Baghdad and sets him on edge. Lakewood is a community that deeply respects military veterans for their service, so the City of Lakewood urges residents to be considerate of veterans…and think twice before using illegal fireworks in Lakewood. 

2. Pets can also be traumatized by loud fireworks…and more pets run away from home and are lost on July 4th than on any other day. Like veterans, most pet owners can prepare their animals for a short, one-time event like a planned fireworks show or the use of safe-and-sane fireworks whose sound does not travel far. But there’s no preparing for the loud and unexpected sounds of illegal skyrockets, firecrackers and other explosives, including those happening late at night.

3. There are significant fines for illegal fireworks use. The City of Lakewood has enhanced its traditional fine of $1,000 for illegal fireworks with other charges that now double the penalty to $2,000 or more. 

4. Property owners will be cited along with those responsible for setting off illegal fireworks. In the last two years, Deputy Sheriffs have issued 125 citations for illegal fireworks use in Lakewood. 

“Lakewood residents can have a lot of fun with safe-and-sane fireworks,” said Lakewood City Manager Thaddeus McCormack, “and you won’t risk harming veterans, pets and neighbors in the process.”

Illegal fireworks can be surrendered at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station or any L.A. County Fire Station (there are three in Lakewood). No questions asked.

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