To ensure that misinformation about the Francis incident is kept to a minimum, the City of Ontario is offering this new feature – a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage that will be updated regularly.
Below are some of the main rumors/questions that the City has received surrounding the Francis incident.
(Update April 3, 2021) Why are the displaced residents near the Francis Incident being asked to sign waivers before being housed by the City?
FACT: The City took proactive and positive steps in offering housing assistance to affected families in the area of the incident. The documents that participants were asked to sign related to the provision of that housing assistance only, and did not require anyone to waive any rights they might have with respect to damages from the incident. Using such a waiver form is standard and represents best practices. Individuals were encouraged to seek out their own legal advice if they had any questions or concerns about the form.
(Update March 30, 2021) How do I report firework activity in my neighborhood?
To report firework activity in your neighborhood, click here or call the Fireworks Hotline at (909) 986-6711.
- How many times was the Ontario Police Department/Ontario Fire Department notified in the past year of illegal fireworks being set off at the subject property?
FACT: In the twelve months preceding the explosion, OPD was called to the house at 428 West Francis only one time (and even then, it was in regard to a shots fired call). Nothing during the response to that call indicated that there was a cache of illegal fireworks at the property. If you would like to request a record of calls for service related to fireworks at this subject property, click here.
While many residents call the police and fire departments about fireworks, very rarely do they give a specific property address. With an address and positive identification, officers can issue a misdemeanor citation even if they personally did not observe the use of the fireworks.
(Update March 31, 2021) CLARIFICATION: We understand that KCAL9 ran a story last night about fireworks calls for service in the neighborhood surrounding the site of the recent explosion. It appears the story was based in part on documents provided by the City in response to a request for records under the California Public Records Act. The information provided in response to the station's public records request showed 50 calls in the area over the past 12 months. While some of those calls listed were duplicate calls (multiple calls for the same reported incident), there were indeed calls for service related to firework activity. However, to be clear, during that same 12 month period there was only one call for service at the property where the explosion occurred (May 2020) and it was responded to and investigated.
- Did the City know that there was a cache of fireworks onsite?
FACT: Obviously not. Neither OPD nor OFD knew what was awaiting arriving units at the subject property – that’s what made the response even more dangerous to public safety personnel.
- Does the City enforce the anti-fireworks ordinance already on the books?
FACT: Yes. In 2020, the OPD issued 185 citations to persons setting off fireworks in town. Each citation carries with it a $1000 fine. Additionally, Ontario officers annually seize hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks in the weeks and months leading up to the July 4th holiday.
- How many residents are going to be without housing in the aftermath of the Francis Street Incident?
FACT: None. The City of Ontario is assuming the housing victims of crime responsibilities from the American Red Cross as of Tuesday, March 30th for families who previously did not qualify for housing program assistance. At this point, fourteen (14) families needing housing will be assisted by the City’s Housing Department. If you are a victim of the Francis Street Incident and need housing assistance, please call (909) 395-2897.
- Has the cause of the explosion been determined?
FACT: This investigation on this matter is still pending. Commenting on the investigation at this point would be inappropriate.
Filing a Police Report for Damage
Anyone who believes they were the victim of a crime as a result of the explosion can make an online report with the Ontario Police Department by Clicking Here.
Please read the following instructions before beginning.
- Select Vandalism as Incident Type and click Start Report at the bottom of the page.
- Answer the questions "Are you Reporting Damage to a Vehicle?" Click Continue.
- Select Supplemental (middle choice) and enter report number 210300647. Click Continue.
- Select Individual as Reporting Person Type. Click Continue.
- Complete Entering the Report Person Information, making sure to fill out each box marked with an asterisk. Click Continue.
- Enter Incident Information using your residential address as the location for any damage.
- Enter the Incident date and time as 3/16/2021 and 1229 PM for both start and end time.
- Enter Property Information and include an estimate for the damage. Click DONE.
- Enter a short narrative describing the damage.
- Review the Report and make any necessary corrections. Click Submit Report.
If residents are not able to complete this online report, please go to the Ontario Police Department for assistance during business hours:
2500 South Archibald Avenue | Ontario, CA 91761
Monday - Friday 7 AM - 7 PM
Saturday - Sunday 9 AM - 12 PM
Please call (909) 395-2001 for any questions.