Friday, July 2, 2010

San Bruno, Pacifica fireworks sales and use keep police, firefighters busy

By Joshua Melvin
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 07/01/2010 11:20:20 PM PDT

Police and firefighters in the only two San Mateo County cities that allow people to buy and set off "safe and sane" fireworks are gearing up for one of their busiest times of the year — the Fourth of July.

"On the Fourth, people tend to drink a lot and blow things up," said Pacifica police Capt. Dave Bertini, whose department will have all 30 of its officers on duty over the course of the weekend, plus 20 San Mateo County sheriff's deputies for backup.

San Bruno will have about the same number of police on duty along with five sheriff's deputies for backup to deal with the flood of calls expected to come in as revelers celebrate America's birthday, said San Bruno police Cmdr. Matt Campi. Most Peninsula cities plan to have beefed-up crews of officers and firefighters as the party kicks into high gear.

"There's a lot going on in the street," Campi said, adding that the city typically sees a 50 percent jump in calls for service on July Fourth compared to an average day.

Both cities permit the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks, which are pyrotechnics that don't fly or explode, said Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Nonprofit groups run many of the sales booths, raising thousands of dollars for things such as school uniforms and supplies.

Under state rules, all other fireworks are deemed dangerous and illegal, and both cities levy a $1,000 fine for people caught with them. 


Posted by Steve Sinai

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