Several Southern California cities cancel fireworks

Several Southern California fireworks have been canceled following a state investigation into the company hired to supply the pyrotechnics.

The cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, La Puente and Lynwood were among those forced to cancel or revise their shows after the California State Fire Marshal raided the Exposhows Inc. warehouse in Kern County this week suspected of illegal activity, officials said.

“This company had a fraudulent contract with nearly a dozen cities across the state to perform 4th of July shows…and now, unfortunately, those cities are trying to find other fireworks companies,” said Chief Mike Richwine of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. said at a press conference on Thursday.

Richwine said the company was unlicensed and in possession of fireworks containing counterfeit state fire marshal seals, as well as homemade explosives.

“We believe they violated at least 15 fireworks and explosives laws and regulations,” Richwine said.

The contractor’s permit was revoked, according to a statement from the town of La Puente, which said it was replacing its fireworks display with a “patriotic laser light show.”

“It’s unfortunate after two years of COVID and no fireworks, we are unable to move forward with any fireworks this year,” said City Council member David Argudo. La Puente, at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The town of Lynwood also announced that it was hosting a laser light show instead of its annual fireworks display.

“The laser light show is a new component as our fireworks supplier for several years recently lost their license to produce shows – so no official fireworks this year,” the city said in a statement. Press release.

The cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, which jointly host their annual expo, said they were scrambling to find a last-minute replacement, but announced on Friday they had “no choice but to cancel “.

“Although a physical event will not take place, we know our amazing community will always celebrate together in spirit,” Lancaster officials said. said on Twitter.

David MacCormick, a spokesperson for Exposhows, said by email that the company is a “small family business that has been providing safe entertainment to California communities for decades.”

He said the fireworks in their possession were all purchased legally and the company was proud of its track record of safe shows.

“To Exposhows, this appears to be an overreaction by the state fire marshal’s office, and thus far no charges have been filed or disclosed to Exposhows for comment,” MacCormick said. “It’s a pity that the [State Fire Marshal] abruptly decided to grab the fireworks just before they were released from the Exposhows facilities to the Expo sites, wrongfully depriving the affected communities of another safe and entertaining 4th of July celebration to express their spirit of community and patriotism.

Areas outside of Southern California were also affected by the raid. The city of Madera also said it was canceling its show after authorities were unable to find another supplier.

“We know you’ll be as disappointed to hear this news as we are to share it with you,” city officials wrote in a statement, “but rest assured…the show will be back. And it will be.” bigger and better than ever before.

Bernard P. Love