Officers show the dangers of fireworks

July 1, 2009 7:05:30 PM PDT
Oakland police have made what they call -- the largest illegal firework bust in the city's history. They've confiscated nearly a ton of professional grade explosives. Officers blew some of them up to demonstrate just how dangerous they are.

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The bomb squad exploded a box filled with several hundred M-1000 professional grade fireworks. Each one is as powerful as a quarter stick of dynamite.

"Had this been in the house on 40th avenue, that neighborhood would have been a disaster," said Sgt. J.D. Nelson from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

It was only a small amount of the 2,000 pounds of illegal fireworks Oakland police found last night in a home on the 1400 block of 40th Avenue.

The estimated street value is at more than $75,000.

"This is not just you know safe and sane fireworks. These are highly professional fireworks, very explosive," said Oakland Police spokesman Officer Jeff Thomason.

Police arrested 65-year-old Gabriel Bueno and his son Edward. They also seized three firearms, including a tech-nine assault pistol.

It happens every year just before the July 4th holiday weekend. Undercover cops discover large amounts of illegal fireworks ready to be sold on the streets of Oakland.

Last July, Oakland police blew up one of the M-80 explosives they had seized to demonstrate its deadly force.

Every Fourth of July, Oakland's skyline looks like a warzone, ablaze with the explosions of powerful fireworks ignited from neighborhoods all over the city.

The 4th is always a long and tense night for police.

It's very difficult for the officers because you don't know if someone is shooting at you or someone is setting off fireworks.

Like many other fireworks busts, Tuesday night's was in a home in a quiet residential neighborhood. Neighbors were surprised.

"They're just normal people, normal people that they be here every day you know, working on their cars and stuff so you would never guess that they would have that there," said neighbor Sharese Williams.

Extra officers will be patrolling Oakland, a city which has banned all fireworks, even the safe and sane variety.

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