Illegal fireworks cause big problems across the Bay Area

An auto repair shop worker was severely injured Thursday after he found a large fireworks device in a dumpster in Antioch. Despite being advised not to light it, he did and it exploded in his hands causing him to lose several fingers.

"The consequences, unfortunately, in this case, will be a life altering impact on this person's life," said Contra Costa Arson Investigator George Laing.

In Oakland, police say good enforcement against blatant behavior paid off. "Yesterday we had 64 citations and 5 arrests and one vehicle towing regarding illegal fireworks," said Oakland Police Office Felicia Aisthorp.

In San Francisco police reported a bizarre criminal aggravated assault against a 20 year old woman who was standing on a corner.

"Around 7:50 pm, this victim was waiting at the corner of Fulton Street and Masonic Avenue, waiting to cross the street. She heard a loud explosion and then felt a pain to her left foot and a firework had exploded. She was transported to the hospital," said San Francisco Police Officer Joseph Tomlinson.

The insurance Journal reports that last year, eight people died from fireworks incidents There were another 12,900 fireworks injuries, one third of which were to children, treated at U.S. emergency rooms from mid-June to mid-July. Though illegal fireworks use probably peaked on the 4th of July, the danger will continue for many days to come.

"In some cases up to a month in advance and can go up to a week and a half or two weeks; in some cases, even longer after," said Arson Investigator Laing.

Besides the deaths and injuries, fireworks started 15,000 fires damaging or destroying 1,400 structure and 200 vehicles. This has gotten way, way out of control.

"Even though the 4th of July has passed, we know know there's still illegal fireworks out in the city There's still gonna be offers out there writing citation and making arrest regarding illegal fireworks," said Oakland Officer Aisthorp.

"Some of the most destructive fires we've had have occurred resulting from fireworks have occurred after the Fourth," said Arson Investigator Laing.

Hot and dry conditions expected this weekend only raises the fire danger exponentially.
 

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