Police: Fireworks complaints increase

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Delilah Barela and her 2 1/2-year-old daughter Destinee look for fireworks Thursday at a tent sale west of Clovis to help the family celebrate the July 4th weekend.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

As Independence Day draws closer, Clovis police are getting 10 calls or more a day because of fireworks.

The approaching holiday is an opportunity to remind residents Clovis has tight restrictions on the types of fireworks allowed in the city, Capt. Patrick Whitney said.

“If it goes in the air and it goes pop, it’s illegal,” he said, explaining the ordinance regarding fireworks is pretty simple.

“If officers are called and they find you with them, then they can be confiscated and you can be cited,” he said.

As evening draws near, fireworks can often be heard throughout the community and neighbors disturbed by the noise or concerned about fire risk often call police.

Officers have responded to at least 40 fireworks complaints since last weekend.

There have been no citations issued.

Whitney said officers have to prioritize calls and will respond. But sometimes fireworks complaints are shuffled lower on the list as officers respond to other reports. And often officers cannot locate the source of fireworks complaints.

Fireworks violations are nothing new, he said, explaining, “it’s the same thing every year.”

“It’s Fourth of July and people are going to have them and people are going to pop them off,” he said.

Fireworks sold within the city limits meet city code, while fireworks sold in the county or other locations may not. That means they could result in a citation and be confiscated if found in someone’s possession, he said.

Fire Chief Ray Westerman said fire investigators are already looking into a Tuesday night fire they believe was caused by fireworks.

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, a 911 caller reported hearing fireworks then seeing flames near a mobile home in the 2000 block of Chaparral Avenue.

Westerman said heat from a fire in the yard of the home broke a window and flames entered a bedroom but were quickly extinguished by firefighters.

The resident and his two dogs were safely evacuated from the house and Westerman said the damage was not classified as severe.

“It’s suspected that it was possibly (fireworks) since it started in the grass,” he said.

The fire department has had no other significant fireworks related calls, Westerman said, and fire risk is relatively low this year.

“There are no major concerns for us at this point,” he said. “Humidity is up, wind speeds are down and our grass is greener than it was and there is some moisture in the ground. The fires would typically be slower moving and easier to control and could be mitigated quicker.”

However safety and common sense are still good rules of thumb when using fireworks, Westerman said.

“They’re supposed to be done under adult supervision. There should always be an adult there for the purchase and use of fireworks,” he said.

Fireworks permitted Fire works banned
Smoke bombs Artillery shells
Sparklers Bottle rockets
Fountains Roman candles