Calls to illegal firework hotline doubles in one year

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The Bakersfield Fire Department turns another page after Independence Day, their busiest night of the year.

The BFD deployed 38 enforcement teams–three times more than last Independence Day.

They ultimately gave out 48 citations for illegal fireworks, just slightly lower than last year’s count of 50.

However, a number that did surge: calls to the hotline reporting banned fireworks. Last year, the county received 474 calls. This year, more than 1,000–many of which, viewers told us, went unanswered.

“When you have dozens, if not hundreds, of people calling the hotline at a particular time, it’s very difficult to get through. we definitely understand that and will do what we can next year to improve on that,” Frando said. 

Despite the BFD’s safety warnings, they responded to 20 fires from 5 p.m. to midnight. They are still investigating if they were related to fireworks. Ten burn injuries–mostly children–were also reported.

In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, BFD warned of the $1,000 fine associated with banned fireworks.

The annual ‘no questions asked’ dropbox brought in few illegal items–only 30 to 40 this year.

“Our task force teams are gonna continue to be out every year until we have this curbed,” said John Frando, the BFD’s public information officer. 

In the meantime, BFD says no more fireworks can be lit until New Year’s Eve.

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