Neighbors complain about illegal fireworks in San Jose

The problem of fireworks is flaring up in San Jose. Some residents said they're frustrated and fed up with the barrage of illegal fireworks that happened over the Cinco de Mayo weekend. San Jose Police said they were extremely busy this year and had to prioritize their calls for service.

Home security cameras captured a series of fireworks going off south of downtown San Jose over the weekend. Jeff Levine’s cameras took the videos. He said the illegal activity didn’t let up. 

“I get enraged by it,” said Levine. “It’s another example of the dangerous aerial fireworks that are being set off by civilians.”

He said not sparklers but explosive military grade projectiles shot up in the neighborhood. 

“It surprised me how close and how much louder and more powerful these were than prior years,” said Levine. 

The fireworks were so strong it shook David Vieira’s double pane windows. He heard them go off about a mile away.

“I’m disappointed that there are people out there who disregard the veterans and others who are suffering from PTSD as well as people's pets, dogs, cats and even wildlife,” said Vieira. 

In an email, a member of the police force told community members the department can only do so much. On May 5, the city had multiple robberies, reported kidnappings, several carjackings and a homicide.

The police lieutenant also said 500 street racers were in San Jose. Police made five arrests, impounded five cars and issued multiple citations Saturday night. 

“The worst fireworks call I was ever on personally as a paramedic was a three-year-old who took a bottle rocket to the chest,” said Capt. Mitch Matlow of San Jose Fire. 

The San Jose Fire Department said it’s an underreported problem. It received five fireworks related calls over the weekend. The city's online reporting tool was not activated for Cinco de Mayo. It’s a system the city is tweaking after handing out questionable fines last year.

“We are working to get the kinks out as a city,” said Capt. Matlow. “We are doing what we can to make it a better tool.”

Residents said they'd like the City of San Jose to proactively monitor neighborhood hotspots and hand out tougher penalties.

“It’s almost a losing battle,” said Vieira. “It’s very discouraging that we can't bring to bear some legal enforcement.”

Residents said they're bracing for more fireworks as the Warriors advance in the playoffs. The fire department plans to staff up for the fourth of July holiday.