STOCKTON (CBS13) — Illegal fireworks can rock a neighborhood and even leave some people in shock, and a new public safety task force in Stockton is hoping to educate on the proper way to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Starting Wednesday, residents can purchase Safe and Sane fireworks that can be set off during certain times of the day, but anything that lifts off the ground may land you in jail.
Marine veteran Tino Adame who served in the Vietnam War looks forward to the Fourth of July holiday every year.
He likes to celebrate for many reasons, but it’s the fireworks he could do without.
“These loud bangs, the ones that rattle the house, rattles the body and those are the ones that shake me up,” he said.
Adame suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is asking neighbors to be courteous with all the fireworks and says people with illegal fireworks shouldn’t even think about setting them off.
“It’s illegal, it’s harmful, it’s against the law, and if they get caught, they know the risk,” said Adame.
Stockton’s Public Safety Task Force, a group of firefighters, police and the Stockton bomb squad are actively on patrol helping keep illegal fireworks off the streets.
“They get shot up in the air, and just with the heat conditions over the last week or so, a lot of the area is dry, and that is going to cause a fire or if these fireworks get to the hands of someone that doesn’t know how to use them probably, they can cause some serious bodily injury,” said Joe Silva of the Stockton Police Department.
The task force recently found William Yanez, 37, of Stockton with more than 900 lbs of illegal fireworks in his garage. He was arrested and now faces two felony charges.
“Unfortunately, we know that there are still people out there that are still selling them,” he said.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office is also working with the task force and this Independence Day plans to prosecute anyone with illegal fireworks to the fullest extent.
“It’s dangerous. It’s economically damaging to someone who loses a business. People are known to suffer serious injuries, there are dozens of deaths every year across the country from illegal fireworks and that is why the word needs to go out that illegal fireworks aren’t just going to be tolerated,” said Tim Daly, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office in San Joaquin County.
If you do want to see fireworks, community organizers suggest catching the two big fireworks shows scheduled – July 3 at the Stockton Port and at the Marina on July 4.
Investigators say anyone caught with illegal fireworks can face a hefty fine and depending on the type and amount of fireworks, can be charged with a misdemeanor.