Fresno Fire response on Independence Day continues to grow and adapt

News

Last year, the majority of the calls happened between 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — For this year’s Fourth of July holiday, there have been concerns of even more illegal fireworks activity than normal.

But, thankfully, this isn’t the Fresno Fire Department’s first rodeo with the holiday. The department over the years has been getting their response down faster.

The radio in Battalion Chief Devin McGuire’s truck went off all day Saturday. Grass fires, grill fires, or just picking up some illegal fireworks — Fresno firefighters always brace for a busy night for this holiday.

With all that in mind, crews don’t respond to every illegal fireworks call they get. They just don’t have the time.

“The only illegal firework activity we’re going to respond to are ones that are associated with an active fire, or somebody’s actually injured,” said McGuire. “That’ll free our crews to actually respond.”

In the last couple of years, fireworks calls have been going through the city’s FresGO app, or by calling 311. Fire investigators, which there were four on duty Saturday, are handling all of those calls.

Fire crews will be cleaning up the mess fireworks leave behind through the night. Last year, the most firework activity happened from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“Unfortunately there’s usually a roof that’s gone, sometimes even an entire house,” said Capt. Jeff Guinn. “Nine times out of ten, [the victim] is not the person lighting the fireworks.”

Firefighters expect this level of fireworks use for the next couple of days, which is typical every year.

Those caught with illegal fireworks face not only a $1,250 citation but potentially misdemeanor or felony charges.

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