Law enforcement deals with illegal fireworks in San Jose

- Authorities in the Bay Area are stepping up patrols cracking down on illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July. In San Jose, police and fire are monitoring hotspots and looking for violators.

Right when the sun set is when the fireworks shows began in Alviso. The problem is they are not your sanctioned shows. San Jose Police were out patrolling the area making sure the shows don't get out of hand.

“With the wind we are having today we are worried about them having fires or anyone hurt,” said Capt. David Santos of San Jose Police. 

It was 7 p.m. when police issued a citation.

“He was lighting a bottle rocket off,” said Capt. Santos. “He had a handful right in front of me so he ended up getting a citation for possession of fireworks.”

The neighborhood sits right next to federally protected marshlands. Officers from U.S. Fish and Wildlife were also on hand to prevent any fires.

“As far as fireworks goes, it is definitely the busiest time of year for us,” said Capt. Mitch Matlow of San Jose Fire. 

Meantime, San Jose Fire is ramping up their staffing adding eight extra firefighters to respond to fireworks, medical calls and house fires.

San Jose Fire said fireworks are illegal for a reason.

“Two years ago we had a hand injury where people lost part of their hand. We had several fires started by fireworks,” said Capt. Matlow of San Jose Fire. 

“This fireworks show has been going on, said Alviso Native Steven Espinoza. “This is the 21st year. It’s a great show way better than the Great America shows or the ones in San Francisco that last 25 minutes. These ones go for a few hours,” said Espinoza. 

Espinoza admitted his family puts on an elaborate fireworks show using professional grade fireworks at a corner house in Alviso. He said his family tried to get a permit with the city but couldn't.

He doesn't see a problem with it given he said he's never witnessed any injuries.

“Most of the people lighting the fireworks they are all trained,” said Espinoza. “They all did it before. They worked in pyrotechnics in the past. We have a fire hydrant and a hose. We are 500 yards from a fire station.”
 

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