By Anthony Saude
Chino – Excitement was growing as the skies were growing dark in Chino and Chino Hills on the fourth of July just before the skies lit up like a, well like the fourth of July, as residents began their fireworks show —legal and illegal.
Chino police wrote 98 citations for illegal fireworks, modification of safe and sane fireworks, and use of fireworks in parks and off limits locations. It was the most citations written by the police for these violations since 2004.
Chino Hills police only issued three fireworks-related citations on America’s 242nd birthday after three consecutive years of writing zero.
In 2017 Chino police only wrote 64 citations.
The penalty for offenders could be fines of up to $1,000, police said.
Sale of safe and sane fireworks from noon July 1 to 9 p.m. July 4 is allowed in most neighborhoods of Chino. All fireworks are illegal in Chino Hills and the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County boundaries.
A new record was set this year when 2,210 pounds of illegal fireworks was seized by police beginning June 7, it included 1,443 pounds on July 4 alone.
Last year, officers seized 1,189 pounds of illegal devices.
If the fireworks explode, fly or do not have the California Fire Marshal’s seal of approval they are considered illegal.
Teams of police officers and Chino Valley Fire officials scoured both cities, looking for anybody using illegal fireworks, or using legal fireworks in restricted areas.
Three people suffered fireworks-related injuries; the most severe was to a man in his late 40s in the13000 block of Fourth Street. The unidentified man suffered his injury just after 9:30 p.m. when an illegal firework exploded in his hand, causing severe injuries.
Chino Valley Medical Center also reported two people were treated for fireworks-related injuries.
A 21-year-old man injured both thumbs and a 16-year-old boy suffered minor burns and abrasions on his forehead.
32 fireworks-related calls for service came into Chino Hills Police Department. Fireworks calls began around 6:40 p.m. and the last call was received at approximately 4:57 a.m. There weren’t any fireworks-related fire calls received all evening. There was a large bag of fireworks was confiscated as well.
Ten Chino Hills deputies patrolled the city, he added.
A car fire in the parking lot of Harkins Theatre at 3070 Chino Ave in Chino Hills was reported at 10:27 p.m. it was reported to be due to mechanical problems, not fireworks.
In Chino, safe and sane fireworks are legal to use in certain residential neighborhoods, there were 5 fireworks-related fires all reported between 8:51 p.m. and 10:29 p.m.
Trash container fires were reported at 14235 Ramona Ave. and 13157 Ninth St. and a box of used fireworks were burning in a parking lot of Chino Chaffey College Campus at 5897 College Park Ave.
Chino police received 272 fireworks-related calls on July 4, said Chief Karen Comstock.