Illegal fireworks keep crews busy in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As people celebrated our nation's independence on Wednesday, firefighters in the City of Fresno had their hands full. They responded to 49 fires, four of them involved buildings.

Fresno Fire Deputy Chief Ted Semonious said it is unclear if fireworks caused them.

Semonious added, "There were several injuries that related to fireworks. I know that we went on at least two (calls)."

Despite the number of fires, Semonious says calls were down from last year, but they were up 375% from their regular day-to-day operations. Last night they received 154 calls.

"There was a 20-25% difference in the total call volume from last year."

Semonious says there are a few reasons for the decrease, including new criteria they used before responding to a call.

Fire crews did not respond unless there was an actual fire or injury.

The caller also needed to stand by and make a statement.
"If there was no responsible party ready to stand by and make a statement for us, then we would not have somebody respond to the report of illegal fireworks," said Semonious

WATCH: Full Fresno Fire Department news conference

The Fresno Police Department also helped by screening almost a thousand firework calls.

Increased fire and police staff were also on hand to help.

Lt. Lee Wilding, a Fresno Fire Investigator, said they, "Patrolled the neighborhoods and when we observed illegal fireworks we enforced by issuing a citation."

In one policing district alone 17 citations were issued.

The total amount of citations for the city is still being calculated as well as how many illegal fireworks were confiscated this 4th of July.
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