Local firefighters see busy night during 4th of July celebrations

Sunday, July 5, 2020
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The Fresno Fire Department had 106 fire calls between 8 p.m. Saturday night and 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the sun set, 4th of July celebrations began in Fresno.

Families gathered and lit safe and sane firework as children played with sparklers.

But as the night progressed, the displays changed.

Aerial fireworks, which are considered illegal, were fired into the sky one after another, nonstop.

"It is a good time, it is fun, but the risk is so high," says Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Brian Price. "It is not worth the gain."

Several calls of vegetation and structure fires started flooding in.

Price says Independence Day is one of the busiest holidays for firefighters.

"The vegetation fires that we are responding to are up 75 percent over this time last year," he said.

The days and hours leading up to the holiday have also been hectic, pulling resources in different directions.

Firefighter Nicholas Morton says has experienced it first hand working the last four days.

"From when I first got here to last night, there was a big increase in the amount of fireworks going off," he said.

To assist with fire calls, an extra 10 firefighters were staffed and 24 rigs were active.

Many of the calls involved illegal fireworks, which Price says are difficult to respond to due to the number of resources.

Those calls are usually left up to police and fire investigators.

"We have got to triage what we can respond to with the staffing we have and we are responding to emergencies, to actual fires," Price said.