Illegal fireworks cause major property damage in North Lawndale

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Ten windows, a garage roof, siding and a fence were destroyed by illegal fireworks in the 4300-block of West 21st Street in Lawndale. (WLS)

An illegal July 4 fireworks display has left several homes, property and vehicles damaged in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

Residents in the 4300-block of West 21st Street said their block looks like a war zone after the fireworks chaos set off by one of their neighbors at about 10 p.m. Monday. That neighbor, who was holding a private party, has since been cited, police said.

The fireworks could be seen from a block away and it was all fun and games until the final blast.

"The big blast was really, really loud and the whole street filled up with smoke," said resident Sherry Williams. "You couldn't see anything in front of you. You could smell gunpowder through the whole block."

Hundreds of fireworks damaged at least four homes. Ten windows, a garage roof, siding and a fence was the toll on the home next door to the explosion. Luckily no one was home at the time.

Most of the debris was cleaned up Tuesday, but nearby dumpsters were piled high with the remnants of the fireworks.

Chicago police picked through the debris to remove any unexploded fireworks. The CPD bomb squad made sure there was nothing left here that could pose a danger to residents, who were already on edge.

"My sister thought it was the grand finale. There was a big boom right before all the fireworks went up," Williams said.

No injuries were reported.

Two houses down, the bedroom and bathroom windows were blown out - and there were people inside, including Lee Griffin's 10-year-old son.

"As soon as he got out of the tub, the glass came in. If it had been a few seconds longer, the glass would have cut him," Griffin said. "And what saved me in my bed is -- we had thick curtains up -- and the curtains held the glass back from cutting me."

The residents at the home where the illegal fireworks were set off only said that they will be moving out as soon as they get the mess cleaned up.

"This is my grandmother's building. I've lived in this building my whole life," said homeowner Shauna Blackmon. "No one even said 'I'm sorry.' No one is accepting responsibility."
Related Topics:
newsfireworksjuly 4thChicago - North Lawndale
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