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Zero tolerance for illegal fireworks

Zero tolerance for illegal fireworks

Larry Freitas, Cole Cozine and Zane Cozine use State Fire Marshal-Approved fireworks.

POSTED July 1, 2011 7:25 p.m.

Local law enforcement and fire departments will be keeping a watchful eye on the sky come the Fourth of July, looking for those shooting of illegal fireworks.

The Stanislaus County Fireworks Safety Task Force is taking a zero tolerance approach and will be deploying a large number of law enforcement and fire officials to issue citations, and if the offense merits it, taking offenders to jail.

The Stanislaus County Fireworks Safety Task Force is a safety coalition composed of representatives of the fire service throughout Stanislaus County, the 177 non-profit organizations who sell state-approved fireworks in the area, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, the Modesto Police Department and the state-approved fireworks industry. The Task Force was formed in early 2005 at the urging of the Modesto Fire Department and the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District in response to the large number of illegal fireworks activity on the Fourth of July, 2004.

“Once again, the task force will be deploying the largest number of dedicated teams of police, fire and sheriff officers to issue citations to individuals found to be possessing and/or using illegal fireworks, confiscating those fireworks, and where the amount of illegal fireworks is of sufficient quantity or severity, arresting those individuals and transporting them to the county jail,” said Modesto Police Chief Michael Harden.

In California, the Office of the State Fire Marshal engages in an extensive testing and approval process of a limited variety of 1.4G fireworks that are known and labeled as “Safe and Sane” fireworks but are more commonly referred to as “State Fire Marshal-Approved,” or “State-Approved Fireworks.” These “State-Approved Fireworks” may be identified by the State Fire Marshal Seal found on the individual firework or the boxes containing them. California law allows each city or county to determine whether they will permit these state-approved fireworks to be sold or used in their jurisdiction.

As a result of a new law that took effect Jan. 1, 2008, depending on the gross weight of illegal fireworks found to be in possession of the suspect, this senseless activity can be punishable with a fine of up to $50,000 and/or not more than one year imprisonment in a state prison or county jail. Parents may be held liable for any fire damage or injury caused by their children using illegal fireworks.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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