Illegal fireworks shows around the Bay Area

July 5, 2009 6:43:52 PM PDT
"Safe and sane" fireworks are legal in a dozen Bay Area cities, but it did not seem to stop people from using all kinds of fireworks over the July 4 weekend, safe or not. And that kept police and firefighters quite busy.

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If you live in Oakland or San Francisco, chances are you did not have to go to an official fireworks show to see one.

The skies over Oakland were ablaze with illegal fireworks Saturday night.

The same was true in San Francisco, where police put an early end to a Lake Merced-area party and confiscated the fireworks.

Sunday in Oakland, the evidence littered the streets.

David Rangel, 11, says he was headed for bed Saturday night when the explosions started outside his Oakland house.

"We were going to brush out teeth and stuff and they popped them, a M1000, that's what they call it, it woke me and my sister up and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Rangel said.

Oakland police had said they would be patrolling for fireworks but many Oakland residents brazenly set them off anyway.

"There's police everywhere but I just hope they won't see me," Vanessa Rosales said.

ABC7 was unable to reach anyone with the Oakland police Sunday and the Eastmont substation was closed.

Chauntelle Berry says there were lots of fireworks in her East Oakland neighborhood.

"I just think it's right to pop fireworks because it's the fourth of July everyone is trying to have fun, but I think people should be safe with it though," Berry said.

Donnie Walker thinks there ought to be a way to get the illegal fireworks off the streets.

"You know you have these houses with big trees and things around, automobiles parked, they can blow up a car, so it's pretty dangerous," Walker said.

The city of Pacifica allows safe and sane fireworks, but there is a debate there over whether that invites the illegal fireworks. The fireworks sales raise thousands of dollars for the city's nonprofits. An 8 percent fee is added to every sale in Pacifica to help cover overtime for extra police and fire patrols on the fourth.

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