‘They melted the court’: Illegal fireworks display destroys Oakland basketball court

A fireworks display destroyed a large portion of an Oakland city-owned basketball court in the Oak Glen Park neighborhood. It happened during illegal fireworks display on July 4th.

"It was heartbreaking to see the court in the shape that it was," said neighbor and community basketball player Brian Ovalles. "We have a dedicated group of guys that come together twice a week to play here."

KTVU obtained video of the incident showing a group of people lighting fireworks on the court. 

Neighbors said they asked the individuals to stop, but the group became aggressive.

"The next morning when I came to see how trashed the park was, I realized that this was not just a kind little 4th of July gathering. This was a destructive event," said Tony O’Toole.

O’Toole and his neighbors said they called Oakland’s 311 service line, then organized a group cleanup but were concerned about the condition of the basketball court.

"We cleaned it up the best we could," he said. "There’s a lot of people who use the court, especially the guys who organized basketball games."

Back in 2019, the court was refurbished through Nancy Lieberman Charities. With the help of other agencies, the organization was able to transform the weathered and dilapidated asphalt court.

"This area has really been a gathering space," said one neighbor, "especially since the pandemic."

Fireworks heavily damage a city owned basketball court in Oaklands Glen Oak Park neighborhood.

"We really need this space, especially for the guys who play basketball," said Ovalles.

Despite calls to the city’s 311 service line, the neighborhood basketball players organized their own repairs.

"Some of them used their own money to but replacement tiles," said Ovalles. "We came out here with tools and fixed the tiles. Hopefully it will get us through so we can play."

KTVU reached out to Oakland’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Development for comment on potential repair. A spokesperson said the city is looking into the matter and working to gather more details.

Dave Detling is a freelance reporter with KTVU. You can follow him on Twitter at @DaveKTVU. You can also email him with a story idea or community concern at dave.detling@fox.com