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San Diego Fire warns of illegal firework dangers ahead of July 4

Posted at 11:25 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 14:25:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Many of San Diego's biggest fireworks shows are scheduled to go off once again this year after being canceled last year due to the pandemic, that includes the Big Bay Boom which is launched from Shelter Island.

San Diego firefighters made a big push today to get people to go to these shows instead of setting off illegal fireworks. An exploding watermelon used by firefighters to demonstrate what can happen when people take pyrotechnics into their own hands, and it goes wrong.

It happened a lot last year. The department says they received 323 calls due to illegal fireworks on July 4, 2020, up from 76 calls in 2019.

All consumer fireworks are illegal in the county, due to the risk of injury and the risk of starting a fire, such as a brush fire started by fireworks near homes in Jamacha. The list includes firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, and even poppers.

SDFD said people think the smaller "pop-it" ones are safe, even giving them to kids. A bunch of them going in a pocket, and going off all at once, can lead to serious burns. Even sparklers are dangerous.

"Sparklers burn very, very hot. A lot of kids use them because they’re small, they're fun to play with, they're pretty. The problem is they burn hot and cause a lot of burn injuries to the eyes and the arms," said SDFD Captain Alma Lowry.

Fire officials say illegal consumer fireworks are often manufactured out-of-state, or in Mexico, where there are fewer, if any, safety regulations.

"You can drop off illegal fireworks to any local fire station in the city of San Diego and we will accept them no questions asked," said Capt. Lowry.