Fourth of July: Illegal fireworks light up Bay Area skies, spark fires across region

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Illegal fireworks lit up skies and sparked fires across the Bay Area on the night of Fourth of July, keeping fire departments busy across the region.

Contra Costa County:

In Contra Costa County, the fire department says it responded to 48 grass and exterior and five structure fires Sunday night, which is a 20% and 40% decline, respectively, from 2020.

Throughout the evening, the Contra Costa Fire Protection District responded to fires caused by fireworks, including ones at 18th and Viera streets in Antioch and Deems Street in Pittsburg.

"Especially this year is not the year to take that risk," pleaded Asst. Chief Aaron McAlister during a press conference Sunday night, referring to the extremely dry conditions when mixed with illegal fireworks.

Video from vantage points in Richmond, Concord and Antioch showed the warnings were not taken seriously as hundreds of fireworks were seen throughout the sky.

"It does challenge us continuously," said McAlister about the sale and use of fireworks in Contra Costa County, where even the 'safe and sane' varieties are banned.

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San Francisco:

In San Francisco, firefighters responded to multiple fires Sunday night, including a structure fire at Mission and Alemany, which they say was caused by fireworks.

Just after 3 a.m., firefighters in San Francisco were responding to a first-alarm fire at 1674 Kirkwood Avenue, though it's unclear how it started.


In Oakland, fire crews kept busy with a three-alarm warehouse fire near 77th Avenue and Spencer Street.

The fire department said the fire started on the roof, but a man who lives nearby said he saw fireworks shooting off in the area before the fire sparked.

The cause is still under investigation.

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And early Monday morning, Oakland fire crews were at the scene of a two-alarm fire near 42nd Avenue and Telegraph. It's unclear how that fire started.

VIDEO: Early morning fire sparks in Oakland near Telegraph and 42nd
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On the morning of July 5, 2021, Oakland fire crews were at the scene of a two-alarm fire near 42nd Avenue and Telegraph.


In Martinez, flames threatened homes near Ross Circle, just west of I-680.

Video shows heavy smoke coming from brush.

It's unclear if anyone was hurt or if there was any damage to homes in the area.

VIDEO: Fire sparks in Martinez on the night of Fourth of July
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In Martinez, flames threatened homes near Ross Circle, just west of I-680 on the night July 4th, 2021.

South Bay:

In the South Bay, there were numerous reports of illegal fireworks Sunday night.

Our cameras captured a lot of activity in the hills towards East San Jose.

VIDEO: Illegal fireworks spark fires in East Bay despite repeated warnings
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Asst. Chief Aaron McAlister said the Contra Costa Fire Protection District had been preparing for the 4th of July for nearly three months, including an extensive undercover operation to seize illegal fireworks.

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