Bakersfield Fire Department special task force cracks down on illegal fireworks

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Families and friends got together to celebrate our nation's independence Friday night, and in some cases, to set off a display of sights and sounds outside their homes.

A special task force from the Bakersfield Fire Department was put together to help keep the celebrations safe. 

Around 7 p.m. on the Fourth of July, 30 teams left Station 1 in downtown Bakersfield with a mission to cut down on illegal fireworks.

23ABC trailed behind one of the units as they began responding to calls and canvassing neighborhoods for illegal fireworks.

"So far we're having a good night, we're out here burning fireworks and stuff," said Yozhi Cebreros who was celebrating the Fourth of July with legal fireworks.

"We're looking for anybody that's shooting off illegal fireworks or modifying safe and sound fireworks," said firefighter Nick Kahanic.

Kahanic said most of the safe and sound ones stay on the ground and don't explode. The task force was looking for modified fireworks or illegal fireworks that shoot up in the air.

One of the calls was to a Fourth of July party where the homeowner told authorities he was cited last year. This year, that homeowner says he wasn't igniting any fireworks that were against the law.

"We visually can't give any tickets unless we see them in possession of them or lighting them off," said Kahanic.

Last year, crews issued 61 citations and extinguished 11 fires caused by fireworks. Fines for setting off illegal fireworks can be up to $1,500.

To report illegal fireworks you can call (661) 868-6070.

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