Santa Clara County Fire Dept. issues warning about illegal fireworks

Tuesday is the 4th of July holiday and as people prepare to celebrate, Santa Clara County fire officials are telling people where they can safely see fireworks and warning people about the dangers of using illegal fireworks.  

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission says there were 11 fireworks-related deaths last year and about 10,200 injuries across the country.

"I don’t want to do fireworks. I see what happens to people. You can really hurt yourself," said Cera Chacon, a San Jose native who says she plans to watch the fireworks show at the San Jose Giants Stadium.    

Santa Clara County Fire Battalion Chief Bill Murphy says people need to remember just how dangerous fireworks can be.  

"People can either burn themselves or they can literally destroy their hand, lose fingers. Potentially lose and entire limb depending on the fireworks that they’re using," Murphy said.   

At Backesto Park in San Jose, some residents have already started their holiday grilling and say some people may use illegal fireworks in the area, but that just isn't smart or safe.    

"So, we don’t do fireworks for one, obviously because it’s illegal. Also, because, I mean I’m pretty clumsy myself, so you don’t want to have fireworks in my hand. Something’s going to go off," said Jorge, who was at the park with his family.   

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All types of fireworks, including those labeled ‘safe and sane’ are illegal in San Jose and most of Santa Clara County. Both San Jose and Santa Clara County have social host ordinances. The ordinances also hold the person hosting a gathering legally responsible for emergency response costs related to illegal fireworks. 

"You know my wife’s actually a nurse. So, she tells me about all the horrors that can happen when you go into the E.R. on those nights. She’s going to be working the next few nights and hopefully people stay safe," said Ramone, who's visiting San Jose from Sacramento.   

If someone is cited for using illegal fireworks, fines start at $350 in Santa Clara County and at $1,000 for the City of San Jose.  

"When you combine the use of these types of devices with alcohol, unfortunately the decision-making doesn’t get better in those circumstances. So that’s why we want people to enjoy the holiday. We want them to attend one of the professionally hosted shows that are being hosted all over the County," Murphy said.   

There are professional, safe fireworks shows all over Santa Clara County. For more information about fireworks shows, you can go to each city's website in the County. If you need to report illegal fireworks, do not call 9-1-1, call 3-1-1, and you can do that anonymously.