With all of the traditional Fourth of July celebrations cancelled due to restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic, you’re on your own this year to celebrate the 244th birthday of America’s independence.
The popular Stanislaus County Fourth of July Parade in downtown Modesto has been cancelled by the Modesto Kiwanis Club because of state and county COVID-19 restrictions. Also, Turlock has called off its annual Fourth of July Car Show and Parade due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on large gatherings was announced via a Facebook post.
Since aerial firework shows have also been cancelled, many will be having shows of their own at home with safe and sane fireworks. While booths have popped up around town where community members can purchase their own, Ceres Fire Chief Kevin Wise reminded citizens to be safe on Independence weekend, which he anticipates to be a busy Saturday night for his team.
Fireworks both legal and illegal cause residential fires annually, Wise said, and the week leading up to the Fourth of July is typically the department’s busiest. The same goes for the Ceres Police Department, which sees a spike in calls for service, many of which were due to illegal fireworks. Mortars and other illegal fireworks are already a problem nightly in Ceres, and both public safety entities will be stepping up enforcement as the holiday approaches.
Working with TNT Fireworks, the city is enhancing its illegal fireworks crackdown by publicizing a dual platform smartphone mobile app that will allow residents to take pictures of illegal fireworks and email tese photos, along with the GPS coordinates, to the Ceres Police Department. The emails are used to coordinate response of police officers and fire personnel to investigate, confiscate, cite or arrest those responsible for illegal fireworks.
This unique smartphone app, appropriately named, “Nail’em,” which was developed by TNT Fireworks, places the power of illegal fireworks enforcement in the palm of any Californian’s hands. It will allow them to report the possession, sale and/or use of illegal fireworks in their community along with photos and GPS locations. The citizen’s complaint will automatically be routed to the correct law enforcement and fire personnel. This Nail’em app is being provided to communities throughout California and their residents, free of charge, as a public service of TNT Fireworks.
The Nail ’em app is available today through the App Store and Google Play and has been developed for both the iPhone and Android platforms. There are 158 jurisdictions throughout California that now receive varying levels of Nail’em illegal fireworks reports. Ceres is now one of them.
In addition to the app, Ceres Police Captain Pat Crane said a special hotline (209 538-LOUD or 538-5683) is designed to redirect calls reporting illegal fireworks away from the main 911 emergency line. The special line will be staffed by police Records Division personnel beginning July 1. Reports of illegal fireworks may also be emailed to email@example.com as of July 1.
“When reporting fireworks to the police department please be patient,” said Captain Crane. “We do get a lot of calls that come in so we will have to prioritize and move forward with those. Recognize that there is a big problem within the city and we’re going to take this enforcement to see if we can’t curb some of that.”
The reveling could intensify with the Fourth of July landing on a Saturday this year meaning most people will have the weekend off.
“We do expect high volume calls for the weekend.”
Last year only one Records personnel manned the hotline but this year it will be two, said Crane.
Mayor Chris Vierra asked people to clean up fireworks debris in the street or sidewalks in front of their homes. He said many neighborhoods are allowed to look trashy for days.