Residents of four cities in Los Angeles County won’t see aerial fireworks displays as planned at Independence Day mega events due to a statewide investigation of the company hired to provide the pyrotechnics.

Cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, La Puente and Lynwood had to cancel the fireworks portions of their events this week when they learned that Exposhows Inc., a Santa Monica-based company that puts on live fireworks displays for cities and other venues, is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal.

“It is unfortunate after two years of COVID and no fireworks shows we are not able to move forward with a fireworks show this year,” said David Argudo, La Puente city council member, on Wednesday June 29.

The company’s fireworks warehouse in Mojave was raided by the State Fire Marshal on June 25, according to the cities. Argudo said his city officials initially heard that there were paperwork mistakes, and asked if the errors could be corrected in time for La Puente’s Fourth of July show.

After consulting with the State Fire Marshal, Argudo said La Puente learned that the investigation was more serious, involving  questions of public safety and potential criminal activity. He said fireworks were confiscated during the Mojave raid.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal did not return several phone calls and has not provided details of its investigation. Jennifer Seguin, a spokesperson for Lancaster, said in an email on Wednesday that the State Fire Marshall is scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday, July 1.

Lancaster is scrambling to find an alternate vendor to put on an aerial fireworks display at its “4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza” on Monday, July 4. The event is hosted by the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale and the AV Fair & Event Center. It will be held at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Activities include live music, food, arts and craft, face painting, jumpers and a petting zoo — but no fireworks.

“Currently, we have not been able to secure a new vendor,” Seguin wrote.

In 2020, Lancaster went ahead with a small fireworks display despite a ban put in place by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health due to concern that the event would attract crowds and risk spreading the coronavirus.

Both the cities of La Puente and Lynwood booked a laser light show company to light up the night skies in lieu of fireworks this year.

“The laser light show is a new component as our fireworks vendor of several years recently lost its license to produce shows – therefore, no official fireworks show this year,” wrote the city of Lynwood in an informational release about the event.

Lynwood said cities affected by the crackdown on Exposhows Inc. are located in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Whether other cities are affected could not be confirmed. Details on the company’s license status were not known Wednesday.

Lynwood moved its event to July 3 to allow families to celebrate at home on Monday, July 4, the federal holiday. The event, renamed “Independence Day Laser Light Show!” will be held at Lynwood City Park and starts at 2 p.m.

Likewise, La Puente will hold its Independence Day event on Sunday, July 3 at La Puente City Park, 501 Glendora Ave., from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature a beer garden, kids’ activities, live music and a laser light show, Argudo said.

“I am very disappointed with what has transpired,” said La Puente Mayor Charlie Klinakis on Wednesday via email. “But I do believe due to the fast work of myself, our city manager and staff members, we were able to secure a company to put on a laser show. All other activities we had planned are still in place.”

At the last minute, La Puente booked Artistic Laser Productions to offer a show show that begins at 9 p.m. on July 3, said Alex Bauman, director of community services.

“We received notification from Los Angeles County Fire (on June 22) that our show wasn’t happening due to an investigation through the state fire marshal office,” Bauman said. “So, obviously, from there we explored other vendors that we knew of and were recommended to see if another vendor putting on a show was a possibility, which given the short timeline, it just wasn’t working in our favor; nobody was available,” he said.

Staff Writer Robert Morales contributed to this article.

California

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