Legal fireworks stay on the ground and don't explode. But Chief Norman said sometimes people become too hungry for a larger explosion. A legal firework can become illegal when it's wrapped with other fireworks or tampered with in any way. Take this homemade Pepsi bottle firework. Pieces of burnt, melted plastic from the bottle are all that's left of it.
As firefighters mop up the fires started from the explosions, they're reminded of how tragic these illegal fireworks can be. Jim Smith, an engineer with the Visalia Fire Department said, "They can get into structures, we lose houses. Of course, with dry grass out here there's a lot of potential for a lot of damage."
Firefighters say sparks from large explosions land on the roofs of houses, burning them down. Last year, they had to put out six structure fires from fireworks explosions. Chief Norman said, "Dinuba had an incident last year where an explosive device took out the hand of an individual. We've had people in the past that have lost eyes."
Norman says people who make or set illegal fireworks can be charged with a felony. The consequence is up to $10,000 in fines and two years in prison.