Last year BFD collected more than 700 pounds of fireworks and says this year is already looking bad

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 02:44:17-04

The Fourth of July holiday is just days away and while fire crews are set to crack down on illegal fireworks, some people are giving them up without a fight.

But Bakersfield Fire Battalion Chief, Anthony Galagaza, said this year has been a little more unsettling heading into the holiday.

“The last couple of weeks, Bakersfield firefighters have noticed an increase so much with the fire calls and also we've noticed an increase because we have so many vacant homes, but we've also noticed an increase with illegal fireworks,” said Galagaza.

And now as firework booths are up and fully stocked for the holiday, the Bakersfield Fire Department encourages anyone with anything illegal to drop them off or run the risk of being caught.

“We'll have our fire explorers as well as our fire officers out there to collect the illegal fireworks. And once they drop them off, there's no questions asked, just drop them off. Get them off the streets,” said Galagaza.

Last year in the days leading up to the Fourth of July, Galagaza says fire officials collected over 700 pounds of illegal fireworks, saying this year they could be on pace to break that mark.

“We've already confiscated in upwards of 150 pounds and we haven't even started the drop off period yet at station 15 and City Fire Station 1,” said Galagaza.

While some residents say patrols and stiff fines help fight illegal fireworks, others like Christine King, Ruby Torres, and Michael Pangborn say people may not know the difference.

“I think most people are not educated about it. But I think the young people, the young parents, they should be aware of that and keep updated on the different requirements,” said King.

“I mean they're illegal for a reason, but a lot of us are probably unaware of what you can do even with a regular firework,” said Torres.

“For me personally, I think it's a lot of times people underestimate the hazards that are involved in it. They're more concerned with the fun that's involved with it and the show that the fireworks produce,” said Pangborn.

Starting this week Bakersfield fire stations 1 and 15 will start their no questions asked collecting and fire officials urge that if you do not see the safe and sane logo on your fireworks, to not light it or you could be faced with a $1,000 fine.