$25,000 worth of illegal fireworks seized in Tulare County

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- "I'm pretty sure it was illegal fireworks," said James Smith. That was the word on the street along Water Avenue in Tulare County as the fire department and sheriff's office served a search warrant at this home Tuesday afternoon.

Smith, who is a neighbor in the area, said, "It's been going on for a while. You don't have to go to the recreation park you can sit out and it'll go off there in the ditch."

But this Fourth of July might be different. Investigators arrested 53-year-old Ricky Bayne and 79-year-old William Bayne. Both accused of having over 750 pounds of illegal fireworks inside a van.

Fire Chief Charlie Norman said the dangerous goods are worth about $25,000.

"These two gentlemen were from Oklahoma, so I don't know any of the background or back stories, and they were here selling them which is a pretty big market in the state of California," Norman said.

The Baynes also had an extensive rap sheet and at least a five-year history of selling illegal fireworks in the Central Valley.

"By this confiscation and arrest I don't know how many fires and safety issues we've prevented on the Fourth," Norman said.

"It's a big relief," Smith said, and a big relief for his dogs.

He said every year his dogs suffer because of what is being ignited near their home.

"We turn the TVs up full blast and try to block, but they still get all kind of crazy," he said. "It just kind of breaks your heart because they are scared they don't know where to go."

In addition to confiscating illegal fireworks, authorities arrested two other people for being under the influence of a controlled substance. They also recovered a rifle during the search.
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