Illegal Fireworks Crackdown

July 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
On patrol with Fresno Police Officer Jason Jones and Firefighter James Macfiggen, it doesn't take long to find illegal fireworks.Roman Candles shooting up into the air make an easy target. The young man setting them off in Southeast Fresno is given a citation; it comes with a one thousand dollar fine.

Using an unmarked car helps catch violators, even before dark. A teen aged boy detonated a modified firework in the middle of the street, just 100 feet from the unmarked police car.

As Jones and Macfiggen confront the young man, his father comes storming down the street. He is visibly angry at his son. Especially after being told he's on the hook for the one thousand dollar fine.

Jones and Macfiggen are one of 14 tactical teams spread out over the city looking for illegal fireworks. Illegal means anything that shoots into the air, or explodes.

As they patrol the explosions seem to come non-stop. While checking out a fireworks complaint in an apartment courtyard, there's a blast nearby. As Officer Jones runs toward the sound he discovers another tactical team has caught two young men who threw explosive fireworks out of a moving car. Another citation and one thousand dollar fine.

And attracting the attention of the police with a bang, can lead to more serious problems.

Jones and Macfiggen confront a young man is trying to detonate a modified firework in a plastic soda bottle. Jones discovered there was a warrant for the man's arrest on other charges. A patrol car is called, and he is taken into custody.

The Fresno Fire Department says the goal is not to catch felons, or make money for the city. It's just to keep things safe.

The dry conditions mean the fire danger is extremely high and several fires caused by fireworks erupted throughout the city on the 4th of July.


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