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Give Fresno Firefighters a Break on the Fourth. Keep Your Fireworks 'Safe and Sane'
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 3 weeks ago on
July 1, 2024

Have a safe, fire-free Fourth by opting for these fireworks, says Fresno Fire spokesman Josh Sellers. (GV Wire/Nancy Price)

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While you’re celebrating America’s birthday next week with a relaxing day of cookouts, pool parties, and fireworks shows, the Fresno Fire Department will be on high alert and ready to respond when an illegal fireworks lands on your neighbor’s roof.

If you hear any illegal fireworks being fired off in your neighborhood, call the Fresno police non-emergency line at (559) 621-7000 and provide a physical address.

Extra firefighters will be on duty to fully man the city’s fire stations and vehicles, including staffing one of the department’s four-wheel drive vehicles. That kind of staffing only happens on July 4 so that firefighters can get quickly to off-road fires in the city, spokesman Josh Sellers said Friday.

Last year the department responded to more than 130 fires on July 4, and this year’s hot temperatures — the National Weather Service is predicting a high of 108 for July 4 — has dried vegetation to a crisp, increasing the fire hazard.

The department will have a mechanic on call on the Fourth to make sure all vehicles stay in service throughout the day, and a deputy chief will be at the communications center to help with dispatching decisions, Sellers said.

One fire department staffer will be tasked with responding to fire scenes to refill SCBA air bottles as needed, he said.

Opt for Safe Fireworks

The extreme heat forecast for the Fourth will make it even harder to battle fires, another good reason to skip illegal fireworks this year. If you hear any being fired off in your neighborhood, Sellers says you can call the Fresno police non-emergency line at (559) 621-7000 and provide a physical address.

So if you’re feeling a little sympathetic for firefighters who are having to sacrifice their July 4 holiday to keep you safe, and if you’ve got some extra tri tip, burgers, or macaroni salad on hand, firefighters at your neighborhood station would love to take it off your hands.

Sales of “safe and sane” fireworks started at noon Friday. Safe fireworks are the kind that stay on the ground and don’t explode, and they have the state of California fire marshal’s seal on them.

Fresnans who set off even safe fireworks should follow safety rules:

  • Use them in an area that’s away from anything that can catch fire.
  • Don’t point fireworks at other people.
  • Don’t hold them in your hand.
  • Back away to a safe area as soon as they are lit.

Like the rest of us, firefighters would rather spend the Fourth with friends and family, but they respond when duty calls, Sellers said.

“In my experience last year, I was planning on being home with my family, and I got mandatory called in to go staff a water tender,” he said. “It’s just part of the nature of the job. Most of the time, families are understanding. It’s sometimes a challenge that they have to be away from their friends and family and loved ones to be here.”

So if you’re feeling a little sympathetic for firefighters who are having to sacrifice their July 4 holiday to keep you safe, and if you’ve got some extra tri tip, burgers, or macaroni salad on hand, firefighters at your neighborhood station would love to take it off your hands.

“If anybody wanted to do that, that would be fantastic,” Seller said. “We can accept food donations and that’s totally up to the community. And anybody with a kind, generous heart that wants to do that … ”

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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