Raids yield massive amount of illegal fireworks


Fire investigators say they got a tip that they would find illegal fireworks in the homes and it turned out to be a good tip. They say they feel like they've made a significant dent in the amount of illegal fireworks that will be available this 4th of July.

With guns drawn, officers from the Contra Costa County Fire Department barged into one of the homes at Temple Drive and Chester Court around 8:30 Wednesday morning looking for illegal fireworks. They handcuffed six residents and began hauling out explosives.

"This is the most amount of illegal fireworks that I've ever seen and actually even rivals some of the professional shows that I've done," said Robert Marshall with the Contra Costa County Fire Department. Inside a first-aid box, officers found several M-80s, which are like quarter-sticks of dynamite. "Last summer, a juvenile in Pittsburg lost most of his hand with one of these devices. So, it's unfortunate that they're so easily obtained, especially by juveniles," Fire Marshall Lewis Broschard said.

Fire investigators say they are trying to get illegal fireworks off the street before the 4th of July. Last year, many of the officers went up into the hills and felt overwhelmed as they watched the illegal shows light up the night. "And the show afterwards, from the backyards, was bigger than the professional show. And there's so much of it going on that people don't call and it's difficult to enforce at that scale and that's why we're putting so much effort in and why the state's putting in so much effort to try to deal with the sources of this problem," Investigator Vic Massenkoff said.

They ended up arresting one man at the home on Temple Drive and expect that he'll face felony charges. His neighbors say they didn't suspect a thing. "I would have never thought that they would have anything like that," one woman said.

Two people who were at the second home that was raided were detained but not arrested.

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