SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. - After a deadly firework explosion claimed two lives in Ontario earlier this year, the San Bernardino County Fire Department created a new way for residents to report illegal firework use.
In mid-March an illegal firework explosion rocked a neighborhood in Ontario, resulting in the death of two people and cost over $3 million worth of damage.
Over 80 homes were evacuated. Residents have reported illegal firework use for some time but say nothing was done about it by law enforcement.
Now a month after that explosion the fire department has created the Illegal Firework Reporting System which allows the public to report the use and sale of illegal fireworks.
The county fire department says once a complaint is filed, local law enforcement will be notified for follow-up and investigation. All reports will then go into a database that will help fire and law enforcement agencies in targeting the problem. The fire department says they will then focus their patrol and resources to those specific areas.
"The use of illegal fireworks puts the public, our firefighters and police officers at risk creating an unnecessary burden and additional cost to our communities," said San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Mike Horton. "This new county-wide reporting system is another tool that will assist us in getting illegal fireworks off our streets."
Over the past four years, San Bernardino County Fire Department has confiscated over 121,600 pounds of ‘dangerous and illegal fireworks’ and issued more than 700 citations.
"We take a no tolerance stand against this type of criminal act and pledge to continue our efforts in this battle," said San Bernardino County Assistant Sheriff Horace Boatwright.
The fire department will set up several Firework Surrender Days for residents to surrender any illegal or safe & sane fireworks, no questions asked.
The new reporting system can be found on the county’s website at sbcfire.org.