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Turlock Fire Department advises residents to think safety first when celebrating Independence Day
Lynzee Holmen, Raegan Holmen and Samantha Stapler buy fireworks at the Turlock Tornados booth located at Safeway Thursday morning. In Turlock it is only legal to use fireworks that are marked safe and sane. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Come Monday night the warm July sky will sparkle and twinkle with fireworks all around Turlock neighborhoods, and the Turlock Fire Department wants to remind residents to only use those that are legally permitted in the city.

The only fireworks that are legal in Turlock are those approved by the State Fire Marshal, which carry the Safe and Sane logo. Piccolo Pete’s and/or Whistling Pete’s are illegal in Turlock, as are any fireworks that have been modified or altered. This includes fireworks which fly into the air or explode.

Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will have them confiscated and could be issued a citation. In previous years the use of illegal fireworks has resulted in 15 to 20 citations being issued over the holiday period.

U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks between 2009 and 2013. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, 16,900 outside and other fires, and killed two people per year, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.

An estimated 47 percent of the fires reported on Independence Day in the U.S. during this period were started by fireworks, more than any other cause of fire. However, the vast majority of fireworks injuries occur without a fire starting. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than half of fireworks injuries each year are to extremities — hand or finger (36 percent), legs (14 percent), and arms (5 percent). Most of the remaining injuries were to parts of the head (38 percent), including the eye (16 percent of total).

The NFPA recommends people celebrate the Fourth of July by watching public firework shows, but for those that plan on setting off their own, the Turlock Fire Department advises to take the following precautions:

·         Fireworks should always be used with extreme caution and should only be handled by adults.

·         Before using any fireworks, read and follow all warnings and instructions printed on the label.

·         Fireworks are only to be lit outdoors, in a clear area away from structures (houses, buildings) and flammable materials (gasoline cans, lighter fluid, etc.)

·         Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for dousing fireworks that do not ignite.

·         Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.  Soak them with water and throw them away.

·         Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

·         Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially glass or metal containers.

·         Store fireworks in a dry and cool place.  Check instructions for special storage directions.

·         Never point or throw fireworks at another person.


The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also is hoping people will forgo lighting fireworks this year, as it raises the level of harmful matter in the air, including, ash, soot, and metal.  On the Fourth of July the Valley experiences dangerous particulate levels four or five times higher than the health based federal standards, which are all due in part to personal fireworks used throughout Valley neighborhoods.


“We urge Valley residents to exhibit their patriotism by attending a professional Independence Day event in their area instead of using personal fireworks,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer. “Each year, people suffer serious health consequences from direct exposure in the neighborhoods where they live and breathe… from fireworks activities that are entirely preventable.”


The City of Turlock, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Stanislaus State will host Fourth of July fireworks on the university campus on Monday. The campus will open to the public at 7 p.m. with live music, kids activities and food vendors. The 30-minute fireworks show is set to begin between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.