Monterey County

Salinas crews attempt to crackdown on illegal fireworks

Salinas Fire Department patrols streets for illegal fireworks

SALINAS, Calif. - New, bold signs dotting local streets are serving as a reminder that fines for illegal firework use are expensive.

Illegal fireworks are already going off all around Salinas and local law enforcement are on high alert to catch anyone letting them off.  Salinas fire and police are working hand in hand, to crack down on the number of illegal fireworks, before someone gets hurt.  They also have more hands on deck this year, because there's so many calls for service on the 4th of July.

"A firework is a deadly weapon. If I throw an M-80 at you, that could cause some serious damage," said Salinas Fire Chief Ed Rodriguez.

On Friday night, Rodriguez briefed his top administrators, along with police, on the game plan to tackle illegal fireworks, while keeping residents, fire crews and law enforcement safe.

"Jointly with the Salinas Police Department we're locating as many illegal fireworks as possible off the streets.  We have our violence suppression unit in key spots around the city," Rodriguez said.

Several units will be riding around town through out the night, looking for illegal fireworks and if they can pin point the person letting them off, a ticket will be written.

"I they catch people with illegal fireworks we will confiscate them. They will cite you. Our fines are $1,250 per incident," Rodriguez said.

They're looking for anything that shoots up and goes boom because the safe and sane fireworks usually stay near the ground and just sparkle.  This year, Rodriguez said he has more people to deploy.  He hopes it'll send a strong message that illegal fireworks are not something to mess around with.

"Last year because of staffing we had a hard time getting additional police personnel.  We're fortunate this year, we've actually increased our coverage on the fire side too," Rodriguez said.

Last month, a large amount of illegal fireworks were confiscated, when police received a tip that a man living on Towt Street was advertising more than 1,800 pounds of fireworks on Facebook.

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