'We had M-80s shot over our heads,' SF firefighters respond to hundreds of fires caused by illegal July 4th fireworks

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, July 6, 2020
SF firefighters respond to hundreds of fires caused by illegal July 4th fireworks
Bay Area firefighters worked tirelessly from July 4th afternoon to Sunday morning responding to hundreds of reported fires, most started by illegal fireworks.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's been no holiday weekend for Bay Area firefighters, racing to keep up with hundreds of fires in our region, most started by illegal fireworks.

Fireworks lit up the skies over San Francisco on the Fourth of July. It's was a show most firefighters did not want to see. Illegal fireworks caused large grass fires including one in Hunter's Point and many more close by.

"We were working non-stop going from one fire to another," said SFFD Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter.

RELATED: Crews respond to several fires across Bay Area, some sparked by fireworks

Baxter says his department responded to 108 fires between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning all started by fireworks.

At one point, SFFD crews came under attack in the Bayview District from a barrage of fireworks being launched.

"I had bottle rockets shot at my car, we had M-80s shot over our heads," said Baxter.

Authorities say two small kids were injured Saturday from getting too close to fireworks.

RELATED: Contra Costa County firefighters respond to more than 50 fires in one hour, some sparked by fireworks, officials say

In Oakland, neighbors were helping clean up Lakeshore Avenue where lots of fireworks debris was left behind after a big, loud show in the sky.

"It was the best fireworks show of my life, I wanted to come out and help clean up," said Rachel England from Oakland.

VIDEO: Illegal fireworks across Bay Area on July Fourth

Compilation of illegal fireworks seen across the Bay Area in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose on the Fourth of July.

But others thought it would never end.

"It was overwhelming, the neighborhood put up with seven hours of unsanctioned fireworks," said Dang Nguyen from Alameda.

In Contra Costa County, fire crews responded to more than 60 fires, most blamed on fireworks. At one point two dozen homes were threatened in Pittsburg but firefighters say not a single home was lost.

"We had significant amount of firework activity to the point the noise was continuous, and each one is a potential ignition," said Contra Costa County Fire District Captain George Laing.

Firefighters were bracing for more illegal firework activity on Sunday.

VIDEO: Illegal fireworks seen in Sacramento, Los Angeles

Illegal fireworks weren't just a Bay Area problem on July 4th. The Sacramento Fire Department and Los Angeles Fire Department were busy responding to dozens of reported fires. Fireworks were even seen in the distance as crews worked hard to contain the flames.