CALIFORNIA — Despite Mayor Garcetti’s prohibition of fireworks this Independence Day, Angelinos denied the order and set off their own celebration, as police reported over 800 firework complaints before 10 p.m.
Those who call 911 for fireworks WILL be transferred to non-emergency. Instead, call 877-ASK-LAPD directly or report online at https://t.co/o4pl1MbfLC. We're currently holding almost 800 online reports. There will be delays tonight. We apologize.
— LAPD Communications Division (@911LAPD) July 5, 2020
Mayor Garcetti announced the firework ban on June 29 citing the possibility to draw crowds and increase the spread of COVID-19. The announcement came shortly after California and Los Angeles saw a stark increase in COVID-19 cases and the positive test rate.
By 10:05 p.m. the Los Angeles Police Department reported over 1000 complaints of fireworks.
Eventually, 911 lines became clogged due to the number of illegal firework reports. Due to the overwhelming amount of calls, 911 dispatchers were forced to keep emergency calls on hold. The LAPD tweeted requesting citizens to not call 911 for reports of fireworks.
In Northridge, an illegal fire display set fire to an apartment complex. Eight units were destroyed. Five people were injured and there were no fatalities. Resident Ericka Rivera told CBS Los Angeles, “I lost everything, all of our memories. Pictures, everything.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department claimed they responded to over 100 fires, it is not clear how many were caused by fireworks. They received 1,738 calls from 3 a.m. on July 4 to 3 a.m. on July 5, almost 400 more than the previous 24 hours.
In the weeks before the 4th, LAPD has continually confiscated massive amounts of fireworks in preparation tweeting on June 27, “The anonymous tips keep coming in, and LAPD officers keep working to confiscate more illegal fireworks—hopefully making it a little quieter for you & your pets.”