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Adults Cited After Teens Caught Illegally Using Fireworks in Santa Maria

This is the first year the city has restricted the use of 'safe and sane' fireworks to just one day — the Fourth of July

Santa Maria police tweeted this photo after issuing a citation on Wednesday when a city employee witnessed a 16-year-old boy ignite a box of fireworks.
Santa Maria police tweeted this photo after issuing a citation on Wednesday when a city employee witnessed a 16-year-old boy ignite a box of fireworks. (Santa Maria Police Department photo)

Teenagers illegally using fireworks led to three citations being issued to adults as Santa Maria’s crackdown continues.

The two citations issued on Wednesday and two others on Thursday bring the total to five for the month.

The first incident Wednesday occurred as a city employee was handing out fliers as part of the community education aspect of the crackdown.

“As he was traveling from one house to the next, he sees a 16-year-old walk out to the curb and light off a whole box of fireworks,” Santa Maria police Sgt. Russ Mengel said.

The afternoon incident occurred on the 300 block of West Creston Street.

Hours later, a 17-year-old was captured setting off fireworks on the 300 block of East Bunny Avenue as his family, ranging from adults to an infant, watched. 

“They just thought they wouldn’t get caught,” Mengel said. 

The crackdown on the use of illegal fireworks involves community education and enforcement with a special task force patrolling nightly. 

“We have been out there,” Mengel said, adding that the program appears to be working with fewer calls for service compared to last year. “Santa Maria is doing a better job overall.”

But they expect activity to increase as the Fourth of July nears. 

As a task force member wrote one ticket Thursday night, also involving a child while adults were there, another firework was launched nearby. Both occurred a short distance from Santa Maria Fire Department headquarters, Mengel said.

The parents told task force members they weren't aware the fireworks were illegal, and purchased them from someone selling large packages to field workers at a discount. 

The second incident Thursday involved an adult who purchased the fireworks in Nevada and was setting them for the neighborhood children in Santa Maria.

All fireworks are illegal to use in the city of Santa Maria, with so-called "safe and sane" fireworks allowed only from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4, although they will be available for sale from nonprofit groups operating booths in the city a few days earlier.

This is the first year the city has restricted the use of safe and sane fireworks to just one day, instead of the week leading up to the Fourth of July.

Illegal fireworks, or non-safe-and-sane fireworks, are those that fly into the sky and make loud booms, noises that residents complained startle pets, war veterans and people with dementia. 

The city's illegal fireworks hotline can be reached by calling 805.925.0951, x3473.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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