Illegal Fireworks

Contra Costa County Crews Battle Several Fires Caused By Fireworks

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The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded to at least 10 fires in the county that were possibly caused by the Fourth of July fireworks Sunday night.

The illegal fireworks had crews across the Bay Area stretched thin.

"Unprecedented number of fires has prompted Con Fire to form a third task force of five apparatus and crews. At 9 p.m. & 10 p.m., Con Fire has responded to 37 grass and exterior fires and five structure fires," The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said on their Twitter page.

One of the fires occurred in Martinez on Ross Circle, just west of 680.

Another fire occurred at a home on Deems Street in Pittsburg. Contra Costa County fire officials said that fire was caused by some fireworks shot into the backyard.

Contra Costa County fire officials also responded to several brush and exterior fires in Martinez, Pleasant Hill and San Pablo. Officials said that several of those fires are known or suspected to have been started fireworks.

It's become an annual Independence Day headache for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

It was a busy Fourth of July for firefighters in Contra Costa County where personal fireworks of any kind are illegal and have been for decades. Thom Jensen reports.

A fire destroyed part of a Hercules home earlier Sunday afternoon and fireworks are considered a possible cause.

“What culminates tonight is the simultaneous use of illegal fireworks products that cause multiple incidents in our county,” said Deputy Chief Aaron McAlister with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

Fireworks caused dozens of fires in 2019 and again in 2020 and once again this year as there are more illegal fireworks and more fires. Resources get stretched thin.

“There’s a high likelihood that we’re not able to cover all of those incidents at the same time,” McAlister added.

NBC Bay Area’s Sky Ranger captured countless of fireworks lighting up the East Bay skies earlier Sunday night. The illegal fireworks had fire crews across the Bay Area stretched thin.

In neighboring Alameda County, fireworks are legal in Dublin and the city sets aside several parks for people to safely light fireworks on the 4th.

“I think it’s fantastic, especially with the year we’ve had. I think it’s fantastic. I feel like people need an outlet and a safe one right,” said Rene Rivera.

The Rivera family wonders if contra costa county communities should do the same thing.

“They should. It’s fun just to watch the kids have a good time,” said Arthur Rivera. But it’s something Contra Costa fire officials said they will likely never do. “That would just be introducing another element that would bring risk to our county,” McAlister added.

Officials are asking the public to report any illegal fireworks activities by calling them at 833-885-2012 and to call 911 for any fires.

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