While much of the community went out to celebrate Independence Day at the City’s Fireworks Spectacular on Wednesday night, Ontario Police and Fire personnel were out in force, seeking to protect neighborhoods and commercial areas from the dangers of illegal fireworks. The law enforcement effort, which came on the heels of an aggressive campaign to educate the public on the dangers of fireworks and to confiscate fireworks before they could be sold or distributed within the City, resulted in approximately 40 fireworks-related citations.
No different than other cities in the Los Angeles area, illegal fireworks use remains a challenge in Ontario. Police Chief Derek Williams, who personally patrolled the city on the days leading up to the Fourth of July, noted the persistent use of fireworks, as well as the large number of requests for service received from the community. Said Williams, “Unfortunately, certain individuals continue to selfishly put themselves and others at risk by igniting fireworks in our local neighborhoods. We appreciate the members of the community who called in to report illegal firework use.”
Each year, fireworks-related activities fill emergency medical centers nationwide, and result in a significant increase in structural and brush fires. Additionally, fireworks exploding in close proximity to a house can frighten pets and residents and result in psychological trauma.
Said Rob Elwell, Chief of the Ontario Fire Department, “In a fire season such as we are currently experiencing, fireworks present a significant threat to the community. We want people to have fun and enjoy the holiday, but that cannot be in a way that endangers the safety or well-being of those around you.”
In an effort to curb fire dangers and reduce risk of injury, Ontario has prohibited the sale of fireworks for nearly 30 years. In 2015, the Ontario Municipal Code was amended to include penalties for parents of minors setting off fireworks, and well as for the citation of property owners who allow the use of fireworks on their property. Violations of the City’s ordinance come with a penalty of up to $1,000.
Heading into this weekend, with extreme heat warnings in effect, fire danger will be high. Accordingly, Ontario Police and Fire personnel will continue to be on patrol.
Said Williams, “Although the holiday has passed, the danger has not. Our officers will continue to protect our community by monitoring for the use of any remaining, left-over fireworks. We want to see a peaceful weekend for all those spending time in the City: residents, visitors, and pets alike.”
To report firework activity in the City of Ontario, call the Fireworks Hotline at (909) 988-3650.