Santa Maria - North County

Residents recovering from Casa Grande Estates deaths, concerned about July Fourth safety

Some residents still recovering from...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - In the days since the killings at Casa Grande Estates, residents there say they need peace and quiet so they can begin to heal.

But as we get close to July Fourth, the sounds of illegal fireworks have neighbors reliving the tragedy.

Carl Heavener is still recovering from the tragedy near his home at Casa Grande Estates last week. 

"I don't like to see this. It's a person's life," Heavener said, while gazing at the burned homes.

After watching the fire, hearing the gunshots and the ammunition explosions, he's now concerned about himself and his neighbors.

"The Fourth of July is like a war zone. It makes me think of Vietnam," Heavener said.

Heavener is a veteran who's all too familiar with the illegal fireworks now going off near his home. 

"I see the skyrockets. They're shot up in the air and not in a controlled area. You can tell by this house, that they're very flammable," Heavener said.

Heavener has battled post-traumatic stress disorder for years.

What happened last week was tough, but now seeing and hearing the fireworks makes it even harder.

"In light of Friday's shootings, you can see what happens when people get out of control. Lives are taken. It's a tragic thing. But with all the fireworks, it happens all over again," Heavener said.

City administrators see Heavener as a living example of why people should stop setting off illegal fireworks.

"In the case of Casa Grande, with this tragedy in a close and beautiful community, and the sound of gunfire still fresh and raw, the sound of fireworks can be disturbing. So it's important that as a community we appreciate that and respect what they went through," said Mark van de Kamp, spokesman from the city of Santa Maria.

Some residents at Casa Grande Estates said they are planning to leave town all together during the Fourth of July. 


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