Illegal fireworks concerns in the South Bay

- It’s not yet the Fourth of July, neighbors in San Jose are already reporting illegal fireworks lighting up the night skies. 

“Certainly leading up to the Fourth of July, illegal fireworks increase and it's not uncommon to see fireworks going off throughout the Valley,” said Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy. 

Illegal fireworks are all too familiar heading into the holiday keeping firefighters on guard. Captain Murphy said fire crews don’t need another fire.

“Crews have already been very busy statewide,” said Capt. Murphy. “The number of fires and the acreage are both up over last year.”

In San Jose, neighbors can report illegal fireworks activity online. The San Jose Fire Department said the city has received 660 reports since June 1. 130 of those reports have enough information to investigate.

“Irritated, pissed, it's hard to explain to my cats what's going on,” said Tina Morrill of San Jose. 

Morrill is part of the 'Stop Illegal Fireworks' group in San Jose. She’s among the neighbors who've used the online reporting tool, out of concern for her 10-year-old cat Scamp.

“I’m concerned about my cat,” said Morrill. “I’m also concerned about the vets. People suffering from PTSD. It wakes me up at night. You're not supposed to be using them.”

“Certainly safety, safety for illegal fireworks shows and safety for aircraft in the sky,” said Mineta San Jose International Airport Spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes. 

In an unprecedented move, Mineta San Jose International Airport is closing their two runways for a half-hour starting at 9:30 p.m. on July 4th to allow for the Rotary Club of San Jose’s legal fireworks show to go on.

A spokeswoman with the airport said it’s the best location given its proximity to mass transit. Three commercial flights will be impacted. The airport will be open to travelers.

“We are the 10th largest city in the United States,” said Barnes. “Whatever we can to bring our community together on such an important day.”

On Tuesday, the Rotary Club of San Jose will start setting up pyrotechnics for its professional display at Discovery Meadow. Every city in Santa Clara County offers a professional fireworks show. Anyone caught with illegal fireworks could face fines of up to $1,000 and jail time.
 

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