SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Independence Day celebrations across the Sacramento region resulted in an overwhelming amount of reports of firework-related injuries and illegal firework displays, drunk driving arrests, and high call volumes for emergency services.
A total of 44 people died in vehicle accidents statewide over the weekend, while California Highway Patrol made nearly 1,000 DUI arrests.
The Sacramento Fire Department says crews received 63 calls of reported fires; including 27 rubbish fires, 26 vegetation fires, and four structure fires.
"We believe 100% of them last night were created by illegal fireworks and/or legal fireworks used improperly," said Sacramento Fire spokesman Capt. Keith Wade. “The vast majority were due to illegal fireworks, but can't be proven in court of law a lot of the time without reliable witnesses and these fires will be labeled undetermined.”
The department also issued 35 citations for illegal firework usage totaling $35,000 in fines.
According to Wade, the department received at least over 400 complaints of illegal fireworks on July 4 and over 1,000 complaints in the week leading up to the holiday.
He also says they have no way of knowing the exact number of complaints of illegal fireworks they received after the phone line system shut down due to high call volumes.
Additionally, the Sacramento Fire Department faced understaffing this year leaving only four officials available to take illegal firework calls versus having six the year before, according to Wade.
Meanwhile, fire crews in Yuba City reported a total of 11 fires; including five vegetation fires, three dumpster fires, and three structure fires on July 4.
Roseville received over 100 calls due to several fires on Sunday and Monday.
One of the calls received was for a house fire confirmed to be started by improper disposal of fireworks, according to the Roseville Fire Department.
The Woodland Fire Department reported an 68% increase in average calls with a total of 169 calls about illegal fireworks. Officials gave out 16 citations, each with $1,000 fines attached.
In Citrus Heights, at least 500 online reports of illegal firework activity were received. Authorities seized over 200 pounds of illegal fireworks and made five DUI arrests, according to Citrus Heights Police.
Along with the many reports of firework activity, hospitals in the area took on a number of extra patients due to failed firework safety.
“After several years of reduced and canceled 4th of July celebrations due to the pandemic, our Emergency Departments were prepared to treat injuries as a result of personal fireworks and other holiday-weekend incidents,” said Kaiser Permanente. “In the greater Sacramento area, we treated about 10 injuries related to personal fireworks this holiday weekend, in addition to auto and alcohol-related cases.”
ABC10 reached out to several other medical centers seeking numbers of patients with firework-related injuries.
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