Residents Want to End Illegal, Late-Night Fireworks in Oakland

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Several people who live along Lake Merritt said they are starting to feel like it is Fourth of July weekend every night, and that no one has to look far for evidence of illegal fireworks.

Along Oakland's Lakeshore Avenue, cardboard packages from apparent "American grade fireworks" and mortars were found in the area and in the water of the lake.

Resident Rob Yaeger suspects the "bangs" that cause his windows to shake and his rescue dog to tremble are coming from illegal industrial-grade fireworks.

"This isn't the stuff that they're shooting for Macy's and Fourth of July, and that kind of thing," Yaeger said.

Many neighbors living along Lake Merritt said the fireworks have been going off at all hours of the night, starting from 8 p.m. to as late as 3 a.m.

A nightly celebration that started around Memorial Day has only intensified, residents said, leaving Yaeger's dog to shake uncontrollably and run back inside.

"She's not enjoying the fireworks at all," Yaeger said. "There have been nights when she won't go to the bathroom when I take her out at night because she' too frightened."

The Oakland Fire Department said illegal fireworks sparked at least five fires in recent days. Most of the fires were in the foothills and one was further up in the Oakland Hills, officials said.

Resident Nora Cullinen said she thinks people are at a point where they've had enough of the fireworks. She would like to see the city implement a fireworks curfew so that people in her neighborhood can get a good night's rest.

"I'm all for celebrating," Cullinen said. "Maybe we cut it off at 10 p.m."

Police said they are working with the city to address the noise complaints, but have not issued any illegal fireworks citations yet.

"We are listening to the concerns of our community," Oakland Police Department spokesperson Johnna Watson said. "Not only are we hearing you, we're seeing it as well."

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