Local Safety Task Force Targets Illegal Fireworks with “Zero …

MODESTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Stanislaus County fire and law enforcement officials will be out in full
force during the Fourth of July holiday period to vigorously enforce
state laws that allow them to cite those who sell, possess or use
illegal fireworks. Under state law, those cited face fines of up to
$50,000 and jail terms of up to one year. State law also holds parents
liable for any fire damage or injury caused by their children using
illegal fireworks. In addition, in the City of Modesto those who are
caught with less than 25 pounds of illegal fireworks will be issued a
mandatory $750 administration fine.

“Illegal Fireworks – You Light It, We’ll Write It.”

“People who sell or use illegal fireworks are a danger to themselves,
their friends and their communities. We plan to do everything we can to
stop them,” said Modesto Regional Fire Authority Chief, Gary Hinshaw.
“There are plenty of alternatives for celebrating the Fourth of July
safely without using bottle rockets, aerial shells and other bootlegged,
illegal pyrotechnics that can cause injuries and damage property.”

Hinshaw said local enforcement officials are repeating their successful
Zero Tolerance policy, which debuted last year with the catch-phrase
“Illegal Fireworks – You Light It, We’ll Write It.” Citations will be
issued to anyone caught selling or using illegal fireworks.

Police Chief Michael Harden said illegal fireworks have become a major
problem, with criminal entrepreneurs importing large amounts of highly
sophisticated pyrotechnics that can be sold at a profit. He encouraged
citizens to help identify those using or trafficking illegal fireworks
by calling the following non-emergency dispatch number with details:

“We need everyone’s help to have a safe Fourth of July,” Harden said.
“Purchasers and users of illegal fireworks may think they are buying
something that will allow them to have some harmless fun, but they often
get more than they bargain for, causing injuries and damage to property
– and breaking the law, regardless of the quantity they use or their
claims of ignorance about what is illegal.”

State-Approved Fireworks, which have been extensively tested by safety
experts and can be identified by the State Fire Marshal Seal on the
individual fireworks or the box containing them, are a safe way to
celebrate the birth of our nation. They include fireworks that deliver
exciting displays but that do not go up in the air, explode or bounce on
the ground in an uncontrolled manner. Nonprofits sell these fireworks in
the 290 communities in California that have approved their use in their

“More than 3,300 nonprofit organizations rely on fireworks sales to
raise more than $35 million to support the many community services they
provide,” said Dennis Revell, spokesperson for TNT Fireworks, the
nation’s largest distributor of legal fireworks. “These nonprofits are
more important than ever now, with the economy putting more people in
need of services just when all levels of government are forced to cut
back on programs.”

The Stanislaus County Fireworks Safety Task Force is a safety coalition
composed of representatives of the fire service throughout Stanislaus
County, the 197 non-profit organizations who sell state-approved
fireworks in the area, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, the
Modesto Police Department and the state-approved fireworks industry. The
Task Force was formed in early 2005 at the urging of the Modesto Fire
Department in response to the large number of illegal fireworks activity
on the 4th of July, 2004.

special enforcement teams may be available on a first come, first serve
basis. If you wish to schedule one, please contact Revell Communications
at (916) 443-3816 or (916) 952-5351 (cell).

All materials, including videos and PSA’s, distributed at the press
conference (as well as all safety videos and PSA’s produced and
distributed over the last 21-years) are available online at…

We invite you to view the online brochures entitled “LESS THAN ONE
WEEK…3,000 Nonprofits. 35 Millions Dollars.” at:


And “Exploding the Myths: How State-Approved Fireworks Make
Celebrations Safer, Cheaper” at:


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