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Santa Maria Police Department issues 9 citations of $1,000 for illegal fireworks

Illegal fireworks
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 03, 2023

Fireworks shows are set to light up the skies on the Fourth of July, but in the weeks prior, the Santa Maria Police Department has been busy cracking down on the use of illegal fireworks.

On summer evenings beginning in late June and continuing throughout the Fourth of July week, the Santa Maria Police Department sends a squad of officers out in unmarked patrol cars to hand out citations to people illegally setting off fireworks.

“Most people who live in Santa Maria know it can be on the north end, the south end, it is kind of throughout the city,” said Sgt. Felix Diaz, who heads the department’s illegal fireworks protocol.

He says since the department began its illegal firework enforcement this summer, nine citations have already been issued, with steep fines for those who have been caught.

“It is a $1,000 fine that goes to the City Attorney’s Office for municipal code violation that will be issued to either the tenant or landlord of the residence,” Sgt. Diaz added.

Meantime, locals we spoke to say whenever the Independence Day holiday is around the corner, they are prepared for the increased noise in their city.

“During summer, fireworks are usually just going up, up, up and going off,” said Carlos Bustamante of Santa Maria.

“It can be in the middle of the day and there will be fireworks," added Bustamante’s friend, Adrian Mora. "I am pretty sure that in about an hour, we will probably see a few fireworks. I saw some fireworks on my way over here. I saw fireworks yesterday. There are fireworks all throughout the day."

Others say they are relieved to see the department taking action to prevent the illegal blasts.

“For the animals — the dogs, the cats. I have a little Chihuahua, and he doesn’t like them too much,” said James LeDoux, who lives in Santa Maria.

And in case you spot any illegal fireworks being set off in your neighborhood this week, Sgt. Diaz says you can call the department’s fireworks hotline: (805) 925-0951 ext. 3473.

“If you know your neighbors are doing it, feel free to leave an address,” Diaz instructed. “And, when we do our enforcement details at night, we can send them out to specific addresses and narrow down which residences are setting off fireworks.”

He says as many as nine unmarked patrol cars will be heading out Monday evening for their fireworks enforcement period.

On Tuesday night, he says Santa Maria police will incorporate the use of the Santa Maria Fire Department’s drone to pinpoint the locations where illegal fireworks are being set off.