Was this the worst year ever for illegal fireworks in Sacramento?
Social media was blazing Wednesday with reports across the region of over-the-top fireworks displays stretching late into Tuesday night’s Fourth of July holiday. There were reports of a tree fire in Rosemont, professional-grade displays in Oak Park and so much action in midtown it “sounded like the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan,” one person wrote on Reddit.
Ambitious fireworks displays are nothing new in California, where in many places neighborhood churches, youth sports leagues and schools raise money by selling pyrotechnics with names like “Large & In Charge” and “Dragon’s Tears.”
But this year, the shows seemed to hit a new level.
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The Sacramento Fire Department said on Twitter that it responded to over 300 calls on Tuesday, including more than 30 “working fires of all types.” The department did say it was “impossible to tell how many were fireworks related.”
The city of Sacramento said 67 people called the non-emergency 311 line with complaints about fireworks on Tuesday. That’s up from 40 calls on July 4, 2016.
In Woodland, a fire spread from a plastic trash can and damaged two homes; officials suspect fireworks started the blaze.
And in Stockton, the Police Department’s fireworks task force seized 346 pounds of illegal fireworks and issued 13 misdemeanor arrests-citations.
Sacramento Councilman Steve Hansen, who addressed concerned residents on Facebook, said the city “probably has to have a more proactive campaign to let people know what’s OK and what’s not OK.” He added that the city may also have to engage in “more targeted enforcement” of illegal fireworks next year.
“It’s mostly nuisance stuff, but fireworks have a real potential to cause bodily harm and property damage, especially at 2 or 3 in the morning, when people aren’t the most responsible or alert,” he said.