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Hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks seized in Fresno, Merced Counties


Hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks were confiscated in Merced and Fresno Counties over the past few days.

One of the latest busts was in Mendota on Sunday. All of the fireworks seized total more than 450 pounds.

“That’s crazy,” said Fresno County resident, Esmeralda Villalobos. “I don’t know how people could bring in that much.”

$7,500 worth of illegal fireworks is now off the streets.

“This is a big confiscation for us so early in the season,” said Seth Brown, Battalion Chief, CAL FIRE Fresno County Fire Protection District.

Fresno County Fire and Mendota Police Department worked together to confiscate the large cache of fireworks. Police officers say a concerned citizen reported a person selling the illegal and highly dangerous fireworks from their car. One man was arrested.

“The individual said that they obtained the fireworks in the state of Washington and traveled down here into California to try to sell them,” Brown added.

So what makes these fireworks illegal?

“The fact that they explode or leave the ground,” Brown said.

Another telling factor they’re against the law is if they don’t have a Safe and Sane seal.

“Last year, we confiscated about 40 or 50 pounds of illegal fireworks,” Brown said.

Central Valley residents say they’ve already heard the fireworks ahead of the holiday weekend.

“Very loud boom like a very loud gunshot,” described Fresno County Resident, Rogelio Feria.

“At the end, you hear the little crackling and at the beginning, you hear the little whistle,” Villalobos said.

Meantime, in Merced County, nearly 800 pounds of illegal fireworks was seized last week. The dangerous explosives were stacked in the garage of a Winton home next to an open flame water heater. CAL FIRE saying it could have destroyed the entire city block. 35-year-old, Michael Francis Yonan was arrested in that case.

Authorities are urging everyone to be responsible and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

“We’re happy that we could get these illegal fireworks off the streets,” Brown concluded.

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