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Wayward illegal fireworks burn four persons in Ceres
• Youth, adults burned on Southern Oak Drive
The illegal variety of fireworks was ample all over Ceres on Wednesday night. When one fell into a crowd on Southern Oak Drive and exploded, at least four suffered burns. The culprit was not found. - photo by Contributed

Four persons were injured when a illegal fireworks shot into family members in the 3600 block of Southern Oak Drive during the Fourth of July celebration.

At 9:39 p.m., Ceres Police Department received reports that a stray illegal aerial firework landed in the small crowd of several families which were outdoors enjoying safe and sane fireworks. The illegal firework exploded, inflicting burns to at least four people including a 10-year-old child. The injuries varied from first- and second-degree burns to arms and legs, said Ceres Police Department spokesman Sgt. Greg Yotsuya. At least two victims sought treatment at local hospitals while others were treated at the scene by paramedics. All of the injured were treated and released.

Officers attempted to find the culprits who lit the fuse on the responsible firework but were unsuccessful due to the sheer number of illegal aerial fireworks going off in the area as well as other calls for service, said Sgt. Yotsuya.

Ceres Police issues two citations for possession of illegal fireworks on Wednesday. Last year the department issued 26 citations.

In California, anything that explodes or leaves the ground is illegal but that hasn't prevented some from smuggling contraband in from states and other countries where they may be legally purchased. On May 8 2017 the City Council amended the Ceres Municipal Code to make mere possession of aerial fireworks citable as a misdemeanor in Ceres. Previously, Ceres firefighters and police officers had their hands tied when it came to cracking down on illegal fireworks, only able to cite those caught in the act of lighting the type of fireworks that explode or leave the ground on a state statute.

He said officers will continue to be on the lookout for those using illegal fireworks as we go into the weekend. Those caught in possession of or using illegal fireworks will be cited. The citation carries a $1,000 fine.