The rash of illegal fireworks seizures this year in Southern California extends to the Inland Empire. More than 7,000 pounds of illegal fireworks were confiscated in San Bernardino. Craig Fiegener reports from Colton for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 3, 2012.
Seizures of illegal fireworks are rampant in the Southland this holiday season, with large amounts being reported confiscated by authorities.
The San Bernardino County Fire Marshall on Tuesday reported seizing more than 7,000 pounds of illegal fireworks last weekend. They described them as "dangerous explosives."
"What they do is go out of state to places like Pirum, Nevada or south fo the border, to Mexico, and bring back very dangerous unregulated fireworks into the county," says San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mike Horton. "Even the legal fireworks have inherent dangers to children."
The fireworks were being transported over the border from Mexico. A sting found the fireworks in a truck at at an agricultural checkpoint in Yermo.
In Colton, where fireworks are legal and a "safe and sane" stand was doing brisk business Tuesday in advance of the Fourth of July holiday, fireworks salesman Ruben Gonzalez said clients often ask for the dangerous, illegal fireworks.
"We have people come in asking for illegals," Gonzalez said. "We don't have them, so they go get them."
This time of year, San Bernardino County officials work with federal and local police to catch dangerous fireworks not allowed in California.
They caution that illegal fireworks can be extremely dangerous. Illegal fireworks are suspected of starting a fire that destroyed a San Bernardino duplex just last Sunday.
Of greater concern is the large number of documented incidents each year that cost people limbs or even their lives. Fire officials say it's not worth the risk when so many professional-manned fireworks displays are available across Southern California.
Within the last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has seized more than 20,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in three separate seizures – in East Los Angeles, Norwalk and Willowbrook.
Some of the illegal fireworks seized were "Devil's Thrill," "Triple Break Magnum Shells," and "Reapers Doom," the sheriff's department said.
The department encourages members of the public to report illegal fireworks to a local law enforcement agency or call the anonymous "Crime Stoppers" line at 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.