LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Fireworks are great to look at, but in the wrong hands, they can be quite dangerous.
Deputies at LA County Sheriff's Department Industry Station showed KCAL9 reporter Rachel Kim some of the 2,500 pounds of illegal fireworks they found at a home two days ago.
This bust is part of a well-orchestrated plan to get illegal fireworks off the streets before they hurt people and cause fires during this hot, dry season.
"Yearly, we get many, many injuries, structure fires, brush fires, because these things go up in the air and they must come down," said Lt. Pete Cacheiro of the LASD Industry station.
"Each ball that comes out of the launcher is basically an incendiary device. I mean, they look pretty, they're a firework, but if they land in any kind of brush, shrubbery or dry area, it's gonna cause a pretty decent fire," says Deputy Rene Arguelles.
Investigators are using social media and informants to find the illegal stuff coming in from other states and countries. They're also using something called "shot spotters" to track them down.
"Basically microphones that are set off throughout the city or that specific area, and when there is a sound that is similar to gunfire, it registers and then alerts the station's desk," says Cacheiro.
In their latest bust, deputies found a hot-house stacked with boxes of illegal fireworks -- a dangerous combination.
"Even if one of these lights up, it can cause the entire box to light up, you're talking about a significant explosion at that point," said Arguelles.
Here's a reminder: The only legal fireworks in the state are marked with the California fire marshal "Safe and Sane" logo. And they're sold at approved locations.
"Make sure that it's safe and sound," Cacheiro said.
In the city of LA, all fireworks -- including those marked safe and sane -- are illegal.
People caught with illegal fireworks face stiff fines and prison sentences up to 3-4 years.
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