With the 4th of July quickly approaching, Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman issued a word of caution for anyone planning to celebrate with fireworks.
Legal fireworks will be sold until Wednesday, July 6th, at noon, and with approximately 25 fireworks booths around Turlock, citizens have plenty of opportunities to purchase some festive fireworks.
“Unfortunately, illegal fireworks have been a real problem in our city for the last several years,” said Chief Lohman.
The Chief advised the public that the fire and police departments will be collaborating along with the Stanislaus County Fireworks Safety Task Force to catch people setting off illegal fireworks.
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 4th of July, 2004.
The task force is taking a “zero tolerance” approach as they crack down on the use of illegal fireworks.
Chief Lohman warned of the pricey punishments if convicted of possessing illegal fireworks. If anyone is caught possessing more than 25 pounds of illegal fireworks, the punishment is 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. The punishment for possessing less than 25 pounds of illegal fireworks is a fine of up to $1,000.
“We will be out there enforcing the law,” Lohman said.
The Chief strongly suggested to only purchase fireworks that are labeled ‘Safe and Sane’ by the California State Fire Marshal, and follow the directions accompanied.
He also warned to use caution with fireworks as injuries and fires are frequently a result of fireworks every year, and the hot temperatures will only add to the fire.
A safe alternative for the 4th is the fireworks show, Stars & Stripes 4th of July “Red, White, & BOOM,” at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on Monday, July 4th.
Admission and parking are free, gates open at 5 p.m. and fireworks will begin at dusk. Blankets, lawn chairs, food, water, and soft drinks will be permitted into the event. Alcohol and glass bottles are not allowed, but beer will be available for purchase.
Events at the fairgrounds include: a bike rodeo presented by the Turlock Police Department, activities for kids, live music by Ernie Bucio, and food booths will be available.