Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Authorities Warn About Illegal Fireworks, Dangers Of Acid Bombs

Beware, Fourth of July revelers without a permit. It's illegal to have so much as a sparkler in San Diego County. That includes homemade "bottle bombs" fashioned from plastic soda bottles.

Capt. Rob Sherman has been with the San Diego Bomb Squad for 14 years. He said they respond to more than 50 bottle or acid bomb incidents a year. "Generally it's juveniles making them, just curious, sometimes it's malicious intent," he said.

Sherman said these types of explosions happen in cycles.

"So it's usually the same group doing it, or science experiments, and then it moves to a different area," he said.

He's even seen people who innocently collect plastic get hurt by what's left of these acid bombs.

"This person just happened to pick up plastic for recycling purposes and suffered the effects of caustic substances, which this device was made from," Sherman said.

To possess, sell or purchase fireworks in San Diego County, you have to be a professional like those who put on displays for cities or amusement parks. Many people think bottle rockets are harmless, until it lands and sparks a fire. That's why all consumer fireworks are illegal, including sparklers. The sheriff's bomb squad disposed of 100 pounds of illegal fireworks in 2010, and emergency rooms treated 8,600 fireworks related injuries.

"The number one thing is it's dangerous and the second thing it's illegal," said Sherman.

The best advice for those who want to see fireworks is go to a public event in your community.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.