Fire fears run high as illegal firework displays occur next door

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Bay Area residents fear the high fire danger with the dry conditions and all of the commercial-grade fireworks exploding overhead.

Police and firefighters will be out in force to crack down on illegal fireworks and make sure the Fourth of July celebration doesn't turn into a catastrophe. However, some Bay Area homeowners are deeply worried that it won't be enough.

The fire danger sign says "moderate" but firefighters say don't let it fool you. If the humidity is low, we're still in a lot of danger, especially when you have hundreds of commercial-grade fireworks exploding overhead. That's what they're expecting on Friday and that's what has so many neighbors anxious.

Some illegal firework displays can look as elaborate as an official Fourth of July celebration over the San Francisco Bay, but it's not. They're happening in densely populated neighborhoods around the Bay Area.

In Wendy Jung's Oakland neighborhood she says there are "lots of opportunities for injury, and of course all the fireworks going off landing on people's roofs, and with this dry, dry, dry weather we could have some serious fire problems."

Jung describes Fourth of July celebrations near San Antonio Park as a free-for-all. In previous years, she said, "The crowds were so hostile, that the armed police had to back away finally."

Regardless, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloache Reed assured residents at a Dimond District meeting that extra police and 24 patrolling fire engines will be out in full force.

Reed said, "Just to have that high visibility to let the community know that we are out there and we're taking a serious approach to the fireworks."

Jung said, "It's like a war zone." And when asked if she had any confidence that the city would be able to control it this year, she responded, "No, I don't because of the understaffed police."

SKY7 HD captures similar problems all over Oakland each Fourth of July. Jung says her calls for more police action have gone unanswered, so this year she says she contacted the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division of the federal government. So far her calls and emails have gone unanswered.
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fireworks4th of july4th of july eventOPDfirefire safetyOakland
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