2 men injured, homes evacuated for hours after illegal fireworks explode at San Jose home

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Barath Mathusamy said he heard a loud "pow" while playing outside on Sunday around 3 p.m. near Moonflower Court.

Several other neighbors heard the same noise.

"I heard a big boom and went out and didn't see anything," Suzie said. "The next thing I know I saw my neighbor and she was coming out because they had seen the smoke."

What neighbors didn't realize was that Taylor Poppen was already dialing 911 at the time.

Poppen said her boyfriend, 30-year-old Rogelio Raymor, and his friend 25-year-old John Meltzer, were inside the garage handling fireworks.

"Looking into the fireworks and what they do," Poppen said. "It's not smart they're made that way for a reason. Don't tamper with them."

The two victims were rushed to the hospital with burns and cuts.

"It could be a lot worse," San Jose Police Lieutenant Steve Legorio said. "It could be a lot worse."

The explosion forced neighbors, including a 95-year-old man, to evacuate for four and a half hours.

"I think it's a bit much, I mean all he had were fire crackers that I know of," Poppen said. "I know he's not trying to make a bomb or anything like that."

Police said they did find additional illegal fireworks inside the garage.

Rather than transporting them, the San Jose Police Bomb Unit set them off in the backyard of the home. Once that act was complete, neighbors were allowed to return to their homes.

Poppen is expecting a baby with Raymor soon. She is hoping for a positive outcome for her boyfriend moving forward.

"For whatever reason that he doesn't get in trouble for it," Poppen said.

San Jose police said it's unclear if the two men involved will be facing charges. Lt. Legorio said that decision would be up to the bomb unit.
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