Fireworks cause Fresno's Biggest Fire in Decades

July 4, 2009 6:41:36 PM PDT
The Fresno Fire Department will have a task force out Saturday night looking for anyone possessing illegal fireworks. Legal fireworks have this safe and sane seal on them. But legal or not, fire officials say it's crucial to make sure you're safe this Fourth of July holiday. Three days after a fire destroyed this Northwest Fresno home, fire officials with the city of Fresno say fireworks are to blame.

"The cause of this fire was fireworks related. I don't believe anybody has actually been charged with that but we have found out that it was contributed by the inappropriate use of fireworks."

Fresno fire battalion chief Tony Escobedo toured the rubble Saturday afternoon. He said a scene like this is what they're trying to prevent this Fourth of July holiday.

Tonight, both the Fresno fire and police departments will be out citing people whose fireworks are not labeled "safe and sane." "If we find you are using illegal fireworks we're gonna cite you and we're gonna take and confiscate all of the fireworks, the safe and sane ones and the illegal ones."

Several valley residents are heeding that warning. Darren Ensign bought 21-dollars worth of fireworks at this "legal" fireworks stand in Northwest Fresno.

It's one of several stands set up all over the valley. He says they use them every year, but are always teaching their kids how to be safe.

"That they got to be careful. Stand back. We don't play with the fire, we don't do crazy things. Make sure that when we're launching them, we're in a safe area and environment."

"The result of the use of illegal fireworks can result in maybe not your home burning, but somebody else's. And that affects the entire community."

The Fresno Fire Department wrote between thirty and forty citations last year. This year, a ticket will cost you 1250-dollars.

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