BAKERSFIELD, CA - While many people attend fireworks shows around the county, others will be celebrating the holiday at home. But, how safe are the fireworks you buy?
The Bakersfield Fire Department has already banned certain safe and sane fireworks in the city, and Chief Doug Greener says banning all fireworks could keep the community safer.
"If it goes off, you can cause harm to yourself but other family members around you that are celebrating with you," said Corey Wilford of the Kern County Fire Department. "Innocent bystanders may be walking down the street. It has serious consequences down the road that you really need to think about."
Piccolo Petes and Ground Bloom Flowers were considered safe and sane fireworks until 2004 when the city banned them. Workers at one fireworks stand say many people still ask for them.
"First thing they'll say is, where's the ground blooms? Don't have any. They're illegal," said Steve Wilford, of the Kern County Shrine Club. "Where's the Piccolo Petes? Don't have any. They're illegal."
Chief Greener said people would modify Piccolo Petes and turn them into an explosive.
"My preference would be that we didn't have personal use fireworks. I think it's safer for the community, but I have bosses above me and they talk to their constituents and obviously there is a desire out there to continue fundraising," said Chief Greener.
As for the county, fireworks in mountain areas have already been banned. Firefighters say their challenge will be illegal fireworks.
Fire crews have set up a hotline to report illegal fireworks and estimate hundreds of calls will come in.
"If you call and it's flooded with calls, give it a second, sit back. A lot of people are going through the same thing you're going through," said Wilford. "It's 4th of July. A lot of illegal fireworks. Give it a second and keep trying. We do want to be notified of any illegal fireworks."
To report illegal fireworks, you can call the hotline between 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at 868-6070.