Were there lots of “kabooms” of the illegal type in your neighborhood on the Fourth of July? You weren’t alone.
Local police and fire agencies registered hundreds of complaints on the Fourth about illegal fireworks and legal fireworks being used illegally. And they plan to track down the vendors of illegal fireworks.
The Fresno Police Department logged 255 phone calls from residents who reported illegal fireworks going off in their neighborhood.
As far as where the fireworks went off in the city, Lt. Mark Hudson said it was “all over.” Anyone who looked up on July 4 would have seen fireworks exploding.
So “it’s safe to say that there was a large amount of illegal fireworks,” Hudson said.
Fresno Fire Department Investigations Unit Supervisor Donald MacAlpine said 300 pounds of both illegal and “safe and sane” fireworks used illegally were confiscated on July 4. MacAlpine said the fire department conducted 13 investigations into illegal fireworks.
Two search warrants were issued and one person was arrested in the city during the holiday celebrations. MacAlpine added that the fire department issued six citations for the use of fireworks that violated Fresno Municipal Code.
The six citations are among 16 firework-related citations that were issued by the Fireworks Task Force, which includes the Fresno, Clovis and county fire agencies, said Fresno County fire spokesman Jeremiah Wittwer.
Wednesday, MacAlpine said his unit along with investigators from the other two agencies are going after sellers who advertise illegal fireworks on social media sites and also advertise the contraband items on posters around the region. Felony charges are possible for those who are caught.
In Clovis, 130 calls reported illegal fireworks between 3 a.m. July 4 and 5 a.m. July 5. City of Clovis Police spokesman Ty Wood said there were also three calls for shots fired in the city between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. July 4. There were no injuries.
Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said the department got 184 illegal fireworks calls from 5 p.m. July 4 to 5 a.m. July 5. Botti said the calls came into the Sheriff’s Office central dispatch center and to dispatch centers in Kerman, Kingsburg, Sanger, Parlier, Fowler and Orange Cove.
Botti said the Sheriff’s Office didn’t get calls for any significant incidents related to fireworks.
The Fresno police department’s ShotSpotter system, which tracks gunshots, was activated by about 6,000 alerts mostly due to the Independence Day fireworks, according to Hudson. “That’s quite a bit,” he said, adding that on a typical day, the system gets three to five alerts.
As the system analyzed the sounds, it did manage to filter actual gunshots. On July 4, through the thousands of sounds that the system picked up, nine actual gunshot alerts were picked up by the ShotSpotter system; one involved a man who was critically injured in southeast Fresno.