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Brainiac braces for the annual Fourth of July barrage of illegal fireworks that burn fingers, scare dogs, and keep the neighbors fuming

If it’s the first week of July, well, you don’t have to be Brainiac to know what that means: It’s time for the annual war zone in Westminster and Garden Grove of illegal fireworks blasting off all day and all night for a good 10 days on either side of the holiday.
At our home on the western side of Westminster it started slowly more than a week ago. A pop-pop-pop here, a huge boom there. And judging from the neighbors on hyper-local social media sites such as Facebook and it’s been like that everywhere.
“To the jerk who, year after year, sets off illegal aerial mortars in our neighborhood…the police will find you!” wrote one Nextdoor user who pinpointed his particular nemesis as living in an apartment complex near Trask Avenue and Descanso Drive opposite the Wal-Mart on Beach Boulevard in Westminster. “Your neighbors will report you. They can do it anonymously at (714) 548-3212.”
That comment landed on a thread below a post left by Westminster Police Department Commander Cameron Knauerhaze, letting residents know that the department has been working in recent weeks to bust as many folks with illegal fireworks as possible in advance of the July 4 barrage.
“As promised, detectives have been involved in numerous sting operations this week and have made several arrests,” Knauerhaze wrote. “Although I can’t go into much detail on the stings, I can report we have seized well over 2,000 illegal fireworks. In one case, several mortar type explosives were seized. Thank you for your patience and we will keep up the ‘good fight’.”
The Westminster Police Department’s Facebook page also features photos of suspects arrested for illegal fireworks in the city, with the bad guys’ faces obscured or cropped out but their handcuffs visible, as were their illegal if colorful explosives.

In Garden Grove, the police department has also been running a PR campaign to remind people not to break the law with the dangerous and outlawed fireworks, emphasizing the danger in particular with information on the kinds of things that can happen to you when you light off these bad boys.

A poster from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the Garden Grove Police Department Facebook page states that every day during the month of July an average of 250 people a day end up in the emergency room for treatment of fireworks-related injuries. More than two-thirds of those are there for burns caused by fireworks. The most commonly injured part of the body is pretty easy to guess. Hands and fingers, come on down! You count for a third of the injured body parts.
Second place isn’t difficult to figure out either: Heads, faces and ears count for 28 percent of injuries, while eyes get their own category and make up 9 percent of injuries. Then it gets random with 18 percent of injuries happening to legs – low-flying mortars? – 8 percent to arms, and 12 percent to trunks and “other.” And no, we don’t even want to contemplate what “other” might include.
If you’ve got any burning questions, comments, story ideas you’d like Brainiac to check out in Westminster, Garden Grove, Stanton or Midway City, send us an email at or a phone call at 714-796-7787.
Source: Oc Register

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