CERES -- A 10-year-old boy and at least four adults were burned after a stray illegal firework landed among a group of celebrating families.
The Ceres Police Department says it went off around 9 p.m. Wednesday on Southern Oak Drive in Ceres.
The Martinez family says what was supposed to be a night of laughter, smiles and joy turned into terror.
"I just covered my face ‘cause that’s all I could do and everybody was screaming around. So I didn’t uncover until it was all over," said witness Betty Martinez.
Martinez says she recently had foot surgery so was unable to move when bright, hot lights moved toward her and her family.
"Terrifying because I’ve seen how others have gotten injured by illegal fireworks," Martinez said.
Martinez says a blanket protected her but her daughter, Bellia Martinez-Lloyd, got hit by what police are calling a stray illegal firework.
"It hit me right here in the arm, got burned here and then it hit my leg," Martinez-Lloyd said, pointing out the locations of the burns. "So my daughters were screaming.”
The Ceres Police Department reports the boy and at least four adults got first and second degree burns in the accident.
"Looked like as if it was probably something that should have went up in the air and it didn’t and it just ricocheted off of what it could," said neighbor Carlos Garcia.
Officers say they tried to find the source of the black market pyrotechnic but with the skies full of pops of color and families flooding the streets, they were unable to find the source.
The Martinez family says next year’s Fourth of July might be spent indoors.
"You know, my kids are like, 'Oh mom, I don’t know about next year,' because they’re afraid of all that," Martinez-Lloyd said.
Firefighters and police both tell FOX40 that dealing with illegal fireworks this year was worse than last year.
As for everyone who was hit by the illegal stray firework, investigators say every victim they know has been treated and will be OK.