Illegal fireworks already underway in Oakland

July 4, 2009 12:04:36 AM PDT
Illegal fireworks started going off on Friday night and will keep Bay Area police and firefighters on edge for the rest of the holiday weekend. Every year authorities try to control the illegal activity, but just can't keep up.

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Illegal fireworks are really popular in Oakland. They could be seen in the air as soon as the sun went down on Friday night and as Saturday progress, it's only going to get worse. For many Oakland residents, the Fourth of July is a frightening experience. Levy Davis lives in West Oakland -- ground zero for illegal fireworks in years past.

"Couple of years ago, the store around the corner caught on fire from fireworks on 32nd and West. Embers can hit on anybody's roof and go from there," said Davis.

On Tuesday, Oakland Police made its biggest illegal fireworks bust ever -- seizing 2,000 pounds from a Fruitvale District home. Still, officers know there will be plenty more out on the streets this Fourth of July. Oakland Police and fire are bringing in extra crews and paramedics are increasing staff for the holiday as well.

"Most common injuries on a Fourth of July are someone that has a firecracker or some other firework go off in their hand. Anything will happen from minor burn injuries to losing fingers or their hand," said Rick Oliver, with American Medical Response.

The City of Oakland wants to remind its residents, fireworks of any kind, even the safe and sane variety, are banned. Violators face $1,000 fine. Oakland residents are holding out hope things will be calmer this year.

"I hope everyone has a happy fourth and no one's house burns up from fireworks and stuff like that," said Davis.

The City of Oakland has set up a hotline for people to report the illegal use of fireworks. The number is 510-238-2373.

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