July Fourth celebrations in Pacifica and San Bruno — the only Peninsula cities that allow the use of “safe and sane” fireworks for the holiday — were relatively tame, though public safety officials said there was an “unacceptable” amount of illegal fireworks filtering into the two cities.
Firefighters and police confiscated 59 pounds of illegal fireworks including bottle rockets and M80s in San Bruno, a figure slightly lower than in recent years, San Bruno Fire Department Chief Dan Voreyer said. He said the department has collected upwards of 100 pounds of illegal pyrotechnics in years past.
“The holiday was midweek, and that helped,” he said. “We didn’t get too bad, but there was still an unacceptable level of illegal fireworks being brought and used in our city.”
San Bruno has a no-tolerance policy for illegal fireworks — normally a misdemeanor crime — and brings all offenders to the station for citation, San Bruno police Lt. Mark Catalano said.
Pacifica saw much of the same, with a slight decrease in illegal fireworks-related arrests — numbering 20 total this year — and confiscations, Pacifica police Capt. Fernando Realyvasquez said. He was unsure how many illegal fireworks were confiscated, but noted it was “a lot.”
“We had patrol stationed at Linda Mar Beach,” Realyvasquez said. “We think it really made an impact on our enforcement ability this year.”
In light of a dryer-than-normal Independence Day holiday, public safety officials in both cities had extra staffing on hand all day. San Bruno Fire Battalion Chief Joe Tellas said the department had an additional engine staffed with four people Wednesday. Tellas said there were two single-alarm fires, both related to fireworks.
“It was fairly quiet this year,” Tellas said. “There were a couple fires, but nothing out of the ordinary on that front.”
Voreyer said the department had 17 calls for service during the extra-staffed 24-hour period, which began at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Of those, 13 were medical calls; none was for fireworks-related injuries.
One of the two fires — Voreyer said it was likely due to use of illegal bottle rockets — took place near Skyline College and burned a quarter of an acre late Wednesday night.
The second call came early Thursday morning, after improper disposal of fireworks caused a plastic trash bin to catch fire and spread flames to a portion of the home, located at 340 Euclid Ave.
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