4th of July: Contra Costa County firefighters warn about dangers of illegal fireworks

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, July 4, 2022
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Richmond's long tradition of fireworks on July 3 returns after two years, as firefighters are concerned that illegal firework shows will start fires.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- One East Bay city is starting Independence Day celebrations early. Richmond's long tradition of fireworks on July 3 returns after two years. But elsewhere in the county, firefighters are concerned that illegal firework shows will start fires.

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Gayle Dickson was taking lunch and dinner reservations at Lara's Fine Dining restaurant at the Richmond Marina. Customers will have a front row seat for Richmond's annual July 3 fireworks show.

"It's a big deal, yes. We haven't had it in two years so people are excited, the regulars are," said Dickson.

"It's a great opportunity to get out again and enjoy fireworks on the water," said Richmond resident Mario Brown.

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The big show is back after a long pandemic pause.

"It's very exciting, people are excited to get back out and see the fireworks again this has been a huge Richmond tradition," said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

The Mayor hopes people will leave fireworks to the professionals.

"This year I've seen less illegal fireworks than I can remember," he said.

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Firefighters in Contra Costa County may not agree. They say three fires in Antioch and one in Pittsburg were started overnight by illegal fireworks. In the past two years, crews have worked nonstop over the July Fourth holiday putting out dozens of grass and structure fires, sparked by fireworks.

"Our vegetation is dry and although we're experiencing cooler weather it's dangerous and illegal to set off fireworks in Contra Costa County, we're asking for communities help in not doing that," said Contra Costa County Fire Marshal Chris Bachman.

Bachman says his department is upstaffing fire crews for the holiday, to be ready.

Mario Brown and his grandson hope the weekend is festive and safe.

"One firework can start a major catastrophe, people losing homes," Brown said.

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