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Fireworks injure five at block party, suspected cause of some fires

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Illegal fireworks were believed to have ignited fires that threatened homes and destroyed property in several locations, as well as caused an explosion at a block party that sent at least five people to the hospital, authorities across California said Sunday as they assessed damages and injuries from July Fourth celebrations.

In the city of Hollister, a man was arrested on suspicion of setting off a large mortar during a block party Saturday night. Once lit, the device fell over and shot projectiles into a crowd, hitting several people. A child was flown to a San Francisco Bay area hospital with severe injuries, several children suffered moderate to severe burns and one person had a possible broken leg.

Shawn Gregory Bourdet, 35, told officers he was responsible for what happened and was arrested.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators suspect illegal fireworks sparked a fire that caused minor injuries to four firefighters and caused up to $3 million in damage to three warehouses.

They said witnesses reported seeing a group of young men shoot fireworks at mattresses outside one of the warehouses in an industrial area of South Los Angeles.

In Northern California, officials said fireworks may have started a wildfire that burned more than 320 acres and threatened homes in the city of Vacaville.

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