BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Thousands of unlawful fireworks have exploded in the streets and skies of Kern County just this month.
Between June 19-21, KCFD recieved 1,912 reports of illegal fireworks, Freeborn said. During the same time last year, the department received just 19 fireworks-related calls.
“It is staggering when we look at these numbers,” said Kern County Fire Department Engineer Andrew Freeborn. The exact cause for the uptick is not so clear, according to Freeborn, but investigators are not ruling out frustration over COVID-19.
While fireworks may seem like a night of fun, it can devastate lives forever, Freeborn stated.
“Individuals lose fingers, hands, they injure themselves. We see there are thousands of fires every year across the nation. So there is a risk to using fireworks.”
Legal fireworks are sold only at authorized temporary firework stands and must bear the state fire marshall seal. They can be sold only between June 28th and July 6th.
TNT Fireworks spokesperson Dennis Revell shared common traits of illegal fireworks.
“Illegal fireworks — the ones you’re seeing across the glut across the country right now, are basically aerial items such as motors from aerial shells that replicate a public display, and exploding pyrotechs, and M-80’s and M-100’s, which are the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite.”
State law says anyone found in possession of 25 to 100 lbs of illegal fireworks can face a $1,000 – $5,000 fine, and up to one year in county jail.
“Be safe, be responsible, and be vigilant,” Revell said.
Citizens are encouraged to call the non-emergency phone lines — 661-324-6551 or 661-324-4542 — to report the illegal use of fireworks,
Illegal fireworks can also now be reported on the Kern County Fire Department website by going to kerncountyfire.org and filling out the form to submit to the department.