The bang got taken out of someone’s Fourth of July celebration this week when San Bernardino County fire officials confiscated what amount to 3,950 pounds of fireworks out of the back of a U-Haul box van.
A 24-year-old Los Angeles man and a 16-year-old teen from Bell were both arrested and charged with felony possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit. The two were detained while taking their van through a Yermo Agricultural Inspection Station. Although one of the young men charged is a juvenile, San Bernardino County Fire officials state that both individuals could face up to a year in jail and $5,000 fine if they are convicted.
Possession of fireworks is a serious offense. Anyone caught with possessing over 100 pounds of fireworks without a valid permit could face felony criminal charges.
The bust was a part of a two month effort by the San Bernardino County Fire Department to catch individuals smuggling fireworks. While the Yermo arrest is the largest arrest made this season, fire officials reported seizing a total of 7,750 pounds of fireworks in total.
Many may not realize that some of their favorite fireworks may be illegal. Due to the inherent fire danger posed by fireworks, California law prohibits anyone from owning fireworks that move along the ground, shoot in the air or explode. This includes:
• Roman candles
• Skyrockets and bottle rockets
• Any modified “safe and sane” firework
Individual county restrictions may be tighter. San Bernardino County prohibits the use of even “safe and sane” fireworks in unincorporated areas. If caught with illegal fireworks, authorities will issue a citation and seize the fireworks. Even these citations are nothing to laugh at. Each citation carries a fine of $1,250.
Sources: www.desertdispatch.com, “Two arrested for smuggling 3,950 pounds of fireworks,” 2 July 2012 and www.sbcfire.org, “Fireworks Interdiction Task Force Makes Two Arrests, Confiscates 7,750 Pounds of Fireworks,” Tracey Martinez, 2 July 2012