Fresno Fire spending 4th of July keeping the city safe from firework dangers

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Firefighters are cracking down on people possessing or setting off illegal fireworks all year round-- but especially on July 4th. (KFSN)

Firefighters are cracking down on people possessing or setting off illegal fireworks all year round-- but especially on July 4th. They say they have already had a busy holiday weekend.

Battalion Chief Bob Van Tassel said, "We've had quite a few fires that were fireworks related whether its fields on fire or house fires."

They say these dry conditions make them even more dangerous-- so Tuesday they are increasing their numbers.

"We have a number of people that are on working overtime and then we also have a number of people we told you're not going home, or we're calling you in off duty and were ordering you to come back," said Van Tassel.

Fresno firefighters said they have already responded to 31 illegal firework calls over the last few days-- before hitting the height of holiday celebrations.

"Last year we ran a total of 25 fire calls just on the 4th of July, and 18 of those fires were caused by illegal fireworks," said Hector Vasquez, Fresno Fire PIO.

They said illegal aerial fireworks are the largest problem they are facing right now, because of the threat they pose on nearby structures, and have been issuing citations and fines to anyone they are catching with them.

"It can go from a municipal code violation which is a $1,250 fee and also exposes them to cost recovery from the city," said Don Macalpine, Deputy Fire Marshall.

And the offense may mean more than a hefty fine-- firefighters said you could also face felony charges. So to stay on the safe side, they recommend attending a firework show rather than setting off your own.

"Right now I want to keep working on taking what's on the streets, off the streets," said Macalpine.

The fire department said if you want to face something simpler rather than being fined or arrested, they will give you just a simple thank you if you drop your illegal fireworks off at one of their stations-- no questions ask or identity needed.

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