SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - With the Fourth of July approaching, concerned residents in San Jose are banding together to try to put a stop to illegal fireworks. The city of San Jose has already received 115 complaints. Most of those complaints are in the last week and it's been escalating.
While many people look forward to fireworks every Fourth of July, Sami Monsur isn't one of them. She took video of fireworks going off on her street last year.
“I used to live in the Middle East,” said Monsur of San Jose. “It sounds like the Middle East. It sounds like a war torn area. It causes a tremendous amount of anxiety."
To her, what's even more shocking she said young people are setting them off.
“I’m just amazed these two-year-olds and three-year-olds are out in the middle of the street while fireworks are going off,” said Monsur.
It’s terrifying for her and her dogs. She medicates them with medical marijuana. She’s so frustrated she and other residents have taken to social media starting a “Stop Illegal Fireworks” Facebook group with 300 members and growing.
“As we get closer to the Fourth, we are getting invitations add me, add me,” said Monsur.
Monsur and others are distributing free lawn signs from the city, quick to report illegal activity online through the city's web site.
Tina Morrill is one of the pages’s co-founders.
“I’ve heard them for the past few days in downtown,” said Morrill. “They are starting now. It's usually around 11 p.m. or midnight.”
“We have a concern every year,” said City of San Jose Spokeswoman Cheryl Wessling. “Whether it's a sparkler or M-80 which are really dangerous, the manufacturing of those fireworks are not controlled.”
New this year, the city of San Jose is waiving its $175 block party permit fee for those who won't use fireworks. Firefighters warning fireworks can easily start fires given this year's heavy rains.
“The biggest concern that we have this year is all the rain may have a really good grass crop and that grass crop is going to make fire season very busy for us,” said Santa Clara County Fire Chief Ken Kehmna.
Those caught with illegal fireworks in San Jose could be fined up to $1,000. Monsur thinks her efforts have been working since her neighborhood has been quiet for now.
Residents are happy to hear San Jose Police recently confiscated more than 2,700 pounds of fireworks. Everyone is encouraging the community to attend the public fireworks displays if they want to see fireworks.