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July 2, 2008 > Out With a Bang

Out With a Bang

Fireworks Safety for the 4th of July

By Ethan Chou

Fireworks have traditionally been an integral element in 4th of July celebrations around the country, but due to concerns about public safety, this year their use in the area will again be limited.

Residents of Fremont and Milpitas will be no strangers to their cities' longstanding, strict zero-tolerance policies for the possession, sale, and use of fireworks of any kind. Due to an extremely dry fire season this year, the City of Hayward will also prohibit fireworks in order to prevent extensive property damage and bodily injury that may result from blazes sparked by holiday revelry.

Only Newark and Union City will be allowing the use of pyrotechnics, and only those that meet State guidelines. "Safe and Sane" fireworks can be purchased from authorized stands throughout the two cities, and will be the only those that can be legally discharged during the Independence Day festivities. Violations of fireworks laws are punishable by a fine anywhere from $100 for the inappropriate use of fireworks, to $5000 plus jail time for possession of quantities exceeding one pound of black powder.

In addition to the aforementioned methods of keeping individuals safe, there will also be restrictions on the times and places where fireworks can be legally used. Neither Newark nor Union City permits the detonation of fireworks outside of private property in residential areas; city parks will be closed at 7:30 p.m. on July 4th for other events. Fireworks can only be set off during specified hours as well. In Newark they can set off from midnight June 30th - midnight July 4. Union City only allows fireworks west of Mission Boulevard from 8 a.m. on July 1 - 10 p.m. Thursday, July 3 and 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. on July 4. No fireworks of any kind are permitted east of Mission Blvd., in City Parks or City Streets, at any time.

If you wish to report the sale, possession, or use of any illegal fireworks, call Newark's firework hotline number at 1(866) 520-SAFE; call Union City's non-emergency police dispatch number at (510) 471-1365.

For specific times during which fireworks can be used in Newark and Union City plus more guidelines on Safe and Sane fireworks, visit:

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