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Fireworks Displays On Hold In Several LA County Cities Over Supplier's Alleged Fraud

Bright white sparks light up a dark nigh sky above the lit up neon Rose Bowl Sign. Half of the fireworks are obscured by the lush silhouette of palm trees and bushy tree branches.
(Courtesy Kew Li Wen
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Several cities in Los Angeles County might not be seeing fireworks celebrations this 4th of July. The vendor that supplies and produces their fireworks shows is under investigation for allegedly engaging in “illegal activity,” according to the California State Fire Marshal.

The Mojave warehouse of Exposhows Inc. was raided on June 25. Arson and bomb investigators with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, part of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, found that the company was unlicensed and in possession of fireworks with counterfeit fire marshal seals, according to Daniel Berlant, a deputy director who oversees investigations for the fire marshal's office.

Berlant said Exposhows was also found with "homemade fireworks that could have endangered the public," and investigators believe the company violated at least 15 fireworks laws and regulations. Investigators are working with the L.A. County District Attorney's Office on the case, he said.

Exposhows had contracted with nearly a dozen cities, according to Berlant. At least four of those were here in L.A. County: Lancaster, Palmdale, La Puente and Lynwood.

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Lynwood officials say they had worked with the vendor for several years with positive results. The city went in search of a replacement but has so far fallen short.

“We immediately then jumped into action and talked to a number of fireworks companies to try to replace this vendor, and it turned out none of them had enough manpower or inventory to do that,” said Ed Couglan, Lynwood’s communications advisor.

Now Lynwood, as well as La Puente are holding light shows as an alternative to the fireworks. The other cities are still scrambling to find a vendor in time for the holiday.

Cal Fire is working with the cities to find other licensed vendors, according to Berlant.

Many other fireworks shows in California and across the country have been canceled because of weather conditions and supply shortages.

You can still find other places to watch the real deal: check out our list of professional (and permitted) fireworks displays throughout the city and county of L.A.

What questions do you have about Southern California?