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Six lose illegal fireworks citation appeal
• Using illegal fireworks cost $1,000 for 53 violators
jeff serpa
Ceres Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Serpa with some of the illegal fireworks that were turned into the station during an amnesty event in July and some that were seized from the 53 violators caught on the Fourth of July. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The city of Ceres crackdown on the use of illegal fireworks resulted in 53 administrative citations during the Fourth of July holiday season. Six who were cited filed appeals but during Sept. 12 appeals hearings lost their appeals and will have to pay the $1,000 fine.

At the hearings, Ceres officers presented oral testimony and video evidence related to each of the six citations. The defendants were given an opportunity to provide rebuttal testimony and evidence.

The hearings were conducted by hearing officer, Vladimir F. Kozina.

In its well-publicized campaign to combat the use and possession of illegal fireworks, Ceres Police cited 53 individuals for illegal fireworks between 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 and 1:30 a.m. the next morning. Ceres Fire Department personnel issued seven citations of their own.

The city’s special hotline for reporting the use of illegal firework was busy with 155 calls during the same time period. The city fielded a total of 201 reports of illegal fireworks for the three-day period.

In California, anything that explodes – like firecrackers or M-80s – or leaves the ground – such as bottle rockets and aerial fireworks – are illegal to possess and ignite.

The city allocated five extra patrols of police officers, including a volunteer who spotted illegal fireworks. Three additional vehicles were also on patrol. Extra fire personnel were scheduled for the holiday to respond to fires and reports of illegal fireworks cracking overhead, said Battalion Chief Rich Scola.

For those who don’t pay their fines, the city has the option of taking them to a collections agency and if still unpaid, the debt will be placed as a lien on the property.