FRESNO COUNTY, California (KSEE) – It was a busy holiday weekend for firefighters in the Valley.
In Fresno, calls for service were way up compared to last year’s Fourth of July.
A charred roof and tree, this is the aftermath of illegal fireworks over the weekend.
“I saw the big lights illuminate everywhere, the fire was about three or four meters high,” said Jose De Lao, who lives next door to a home that caught on fire.
Helmet camera video from Fresno City Fire Department shows the flames ripping through a Fresno home on Platt Avenue, near Tulare and Cedar Avenues. Firefighters worked fast to put it out.
De Lao says he was worried not just for his home but also for the ones around it.
“I went outside and grabbed a hose, my hose and tried to spray water all over but didn’t help much,” he said.
This video shows just how many illegal fireworks were going off the night of The Fourth.
The City of Fresno says from Friday to Sunday there were 531 illegal fireworks complaints submitted through 3-1-1 and the FresGO app, compared to 424 for the same time period last year.
Fresno Fire says just on The Fourth alone they had more than 200 calls for service, 135 were fires.
“And it would have been more but so many of those were fire that our resources were tied up for several hours on multiple incidents we weren’t able to respond to every call,” said Shane Brown with the Fresno City Fire Department.
Brown says last year they only had about 78 fires on the Fourth of July.
He believes this year was busier because all public shows were canceled and people ignored warnings not to gather with the COVID-19 pandemic raging.
“The houses that burned this weekend, the people celebrating didn’t intend to burn someone’s house down but that’s what happened, people don’t have their homes not because people were selfish and decided to celebrate instead of taking the year off,” Brown said.
The City of Clovis says they had about 518 calls for service on The Fourth within a 24-hour period, 199 were due to fireworks.
They say they did not issue any citations. Fresno Fire says they issued about a dozen citations to those who were caught with illegal fireworks.
They expect the number to go up because they say there are several cases still under investigation.