Mike Price, a 20-year resident of Anaheim, ventured out Friday evening, June 29, to grab some carne asada for dinner and to buy fireworks for his family.
As Price scanned the offerings at a stand at North Citron Street and West La Palma Avenue that sells state-approved Safe and Sane fireworks, Price was asked if he knew the rules about setting them off in Anaheim.
“I think last year, if I remember, you can set them off before the (Fourth of July), right?” Price asked.
Smith then read the notices posted on the stand, which refreshed his recollection of the law.
“Oh, that’s right,” said Smith, who has four children, ages 11 to 24.
This is the fourth consecutive year Safe and Sane fireworks have been allowed in Anaheim following voter-approved Measure E, which in 2015 allowed them to return to city limits for the first time in some three decades. Some of the proceeds from the sales benefit Anaheim’s eight high schools and another eight nonprofits.
But many residents complain about illegal fireworks being set off near their homes, especially this time of year.
On Friday, June 29, Anaheim fireworks enforcement teams fanned out for evening patrols that will continue through the Fourth of July.
Following a strict enforcement policy, their goal is to issue citations for illegal fireworks or Safe and Sane fireworks being set off prior to the Fourth of July.
Only state-approved Safe and Sane fireworks are allowed in Anaheim, and only between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the Fourth.
Fireworks also are restricted to certain parts of the city, and only on private property with the owner’s permission, and in apartment and association communities where permitted. Civil citations for using Safe and Sane fireworks outside the ordinance subject violators to fines ranging from $250 to $1000, while fines for illegal fireworks start at $1,000 and go as high as $3,000. A property owner can be held responsible for the illegal use of fireworks.
Between Friday, June 29, at 6 a.m. through Monday, July 2, at 6 a.m., the special enforcement teams issued four citations and 16 warnings about illegal fireworks or legal ones being set off too early, the APD said.
On most of the 242 calls for service regarding fireworks during that period — 81 percent — the offending parties either were gone by the time officers and other members on the teams arrived, or team members were unable to locate the fireworks, the APD said.
Keeping residents safe during this potentially explosive week is a top priority of the APD and its partners.
“There shouldn’t be anything going off in the sky,” said Allen Hogue, Fire Marshal of AF&R, at a briefing before Friday’s enforcement, which started around 6:30 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 1 a.m. Saturday, June 30.
“Stay safe out there, and thank you,” Hogue said.
Last year, there were three to four fires in Anaheim — none that, thankfully, were too serious — that were directly linked to illegal or illegally set off fireworks, said APD Sgt. Daron Wyatt.
Ten teams of two people, which in addition to police included personnel from Anaheim Fire & Rescue and code enforcement officials, have been involved in the nightly fireworks enforcement operations.
Price glanced over at APD Officers Corey Reinmiller and David Sarega as they paid a visit to the stand at North Citron Street and West La Palma Avenue on Friday evening.
“They (police) need to be out here,” Price said. “People should follow the rules. It’s a safety thing.”
Price said he’d follow the law.
He mentioned a childhood friend who seriously injured his hand blowing off an illegal firecracker.
Fireworks stand volunteer Alicia Franks said most people are aware of the laws.
Volunteer Yvette LaValle agreed.
She waved at motorists while wearing a Buddy the Labrador costume. He’s the mascot of GOALS Academy, the recipient of part of the proceeds from the fireworks stand at North Citron Street and West La Palma Avenue.
“Very few of the Safe and Sane customers don’t know (the law),” LaValle said.
After visiting the stand, Reinmiller and Sarega responded to a complaint about fireworks being set off in the 500 block of Sabina Street, a neighborhood with gang activity.
The reporting party said fireworks were an ongoing problem at the house.
A group of men, chugging 24-ounce Modelo beers and eating snacks, denied to Reinmiller and Sarega they were setting them off.
As they spoke, a half-dozen or so fireworks went off behind a nearby house.
After warning the residents of 527 N. Sabina St. not to illegally set off fireworks, Reinmiller and Sarega drove to where they thought the fireworks blasted.
Reinmiller pulled down an alley and slowed as he passed a young boy.
“You guys doing fireworks?” he asked the boy.
“No,” the boy replied.
Reinmiller and Sarega then visited another Safe and Sane fireworks stand, at Sycamore Street and East Street, whose proceeds benefit NorthGrove Calvary Chapel.
A man on a motorcycle pulled up.
The man lives a couple of streets over from the 500 block of Sabina Street, and told the APD officers that the occupants of 527 N. Sabina St. regularly set off fireworks that are so strong car alarms go off.
“We’ll let it cool off some and drive back later to see if they are lighting anything off,” Reinmiller told the man on the motorcycle.
For more information, visit Anaheim.net/fireworks