Fresno fire department and police inundated with emergency calls this July 4th

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Sounds of sirens were common to hear this July 4th.

"We got hit pretty hard last night," said Hector Vasquez, Fresno Fire Department PIO.

Between Cal Fire, City of Fresno, and City of Clovis-- firework and fir related calls went up 65-percent and Fresno City Fire said they saw a 70-percent increase in call volume.

"The agencies responded to 325 calls this year, with 98 of those being vegetation fires, two vehicle fires, two apartment fires, three residential fires," said Jim McDougald, Cal Fire Division Chief.

Firefighters said between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. fireworks were going off all over Fresno, creating havoc for their crews.

"Sixteen citations were issued last night, and several hundred pounds of illegal fireworks were confiscated," said McDougald.

The Fresno City Fire Marshal is dedicated to going after buyers and sellers.

"Many of these folks are otherwise law abiding, normal go to work eight to five, come home to family type folk and see July 4th season as an opportunity to selfishly obtain some extra cash," said Don Macalpine, Deputy Fire Marshall.

The Fresno Police Department said they also had a busy night, saying dispatch handled almost 500 calls from people reporting illegal fireworks. They also say they saw an increase in gunshots fired compared to what they see on average.

"Usually we're seeing about three to five activation's a day in our Shot Spotter areas for gunshots we're detecting through that system-- so that increased up to nine last night in that 24 hour 4th of July period," said Lt. Mark Hudson, Fresno Police Department.

The fire department is reminding everyone partaking in this dangerous and illegal activity that the fines are more than $1,000 if they catch you, and you could even be charged with a felony.

"It is every citizens right and we enjoy the opportunity to celebrate this great country's independence, but we need to be considerate of all those around us," said Macalpine.

The Fresno Fire Department said they had to stop responding to medical calls last night for about two hours and said this just goes to show how important it is to stop setting these illegal fireworks off because it's taking them away from responding to other emergencies.
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