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Despite Surgery, 12-Year-Old Girl Permanently Blinded In Eye After Fireworks Accident

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 12-year-old girl will be permanently blind in her right eye after getting hit in the face with fireworks on the Fourth of July, Children's Hospital Los Angeles officials confirmed Wednesday.

Erika Rodriguez was injured while playing with friends in the 600 block of West 42nd Place in South Los Angeles late Monday night. CBS2/KCAL9's Jeff Nguyen reported that Erika was likely hit in the face with a bottle rocket.

"The patient suffered a very severe injury to her right eye from a direct hit by an exploding firework that resulted in severe trauma to the eye," her surgeon, Dr. Thomas Lee, said. "We did surgery to remove the firework that was lodged in her eye socket. As a result of the injury, she unfortunately will be permanently blind in her right eye. She was fortunate that the left eye did not suffer any damage from the firework explosion."

A woman identified only as "Yolani," who lives at her home where the accident happened, said her sister bought the fireworks as, but that they were "safe and sane" fireworks from a legal fireworks booth. However, firefighters say all fireworks, even the "safe and sane" type, are illegal in the city of Los Angeles.

The girl does not live in South LA and was visiting with her family, the family said.

It was unclear if a criminal investigation was being conducted in connection with the girl's injury.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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