San Jose revising guidelines for reporting illegal fireworks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose is revising the city's guidelines for reporting illegal fireworks ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

"I think the Santa Rosa fires and what's going on down south is a perfect example. It's very dry haven't had a lot of rain so the concerns for fireworks are still valid," said San Jose Fire Captain Daniel Vega.

That's why banners alerting people fireworks are illegal are up at fire houses across San Jose. In preparation for New Year's Eve festivities, the city is trying to get the word out that you can be cited for setting off fireworks. Over the summer, citations each with a $500 fine were sent out for the first time. Some residents protested saying the city was handing them out based on how many complaints were made against an address.

"It used to be if two or three people reported the same house even without photographic evidence they would be cited," explained Suzanne Morrone who heads a Facebook group called Stop Illegal Fireworks in San Jose.

RELATED: San Jose decides not to fine people for illegal fireworks

The city revamped the guidelines. It made the online form available Monday on its website to report illegal fireworks during the holidays. City officials say the change in the ordinance is subtle, but it does provide more clarity on how much proof is needed to cite someone for illegal fireworks.

"So now the interface that you'll find online if you're filing a complaints will tell you explicitly what to include so things like photo or video evidence, exact address and known names," explained Robert Sapien, the acting chief for San Jose Fire.

Opponents of illegal fireworks aren't happy with the updated ordinance.

Morrone is worried. She explained, "I think it's dangerous to have citizens taking pictures of illegal activity if they're going to be seen doing it.There's likely to be repercussions."

It's a issue with no easy answers, but the city is hoping people will speak up and report to make it a safer holiday.

Click here for more stories and videos on fireworks.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.