Illegal fireworks sit dormant in Salinas as state is unable to pay for destruction

Thousands of fireworks stored in secret Salinas location

SALINAS, Calif. - A ton of illegal fireworks is just sitting in Salinas, and the fire department said the state doesn't have the money to destroy them.

A combination of this year's and last year's illegal fireworks collection in Salinas, nearly 2,000 pounds, sits quietly in storage containers at an undisclosed location.

The fireworks aren't allowed to be disposed of in California, so it's up to the state Fire Marshal to come and collect them.

"The state gets charged about $10 a pound for disposal," said Herb Shoemaker, a Salinas Fire Department battalion chief.

If you do the math, that's nearly $20,000 just from the Salinas stockpile. The cost includes shipping and destroying.

Shoemaker said there is only money in the state's budget to take care of the fireworks the state already has, not including the July 4th holiday.

The amount of fireworks coming in has slowed down, but the explosions can still be heard throughout the city.

"You get kind of suspicious if you're inside, wondering if it's a gunshot or a firework," said Brenden Lewis, a 17-year-old Salinas resident.

Lewis says a lot of his high school classmates find a way to get hold of illegal fireworks.

"They go to people's houses and shoot them off right in front of their houses," he said.

In an effort to consolidate the fireworks for the state, the Salinas Fire Department is allowing other Central Coast cities to house their stash in Salinas. The City of Marina has opted to add to the collection.


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