Inland Empire residents were horrified to see the disastrous results of a huge fireworks explosion which killed two people at an Ontario residence on March 16.
The explosion, which caused at least $3.2 million worth of damage to homes in that neighborhood, left some Fontana residents wondering whether a similar catastrophe could take place in their city, considering that the igniting of illegal fireworks is quite common during several months each year.
"The Fontana Police Department is committed to ensuring our community is safe from illegal and dangerous fireworks," said Fontana P.D. Captain Michael Dorsey. "Due to the incident that occurred in Ontario last week, we are working with County Fire personnel and looking at establishing a task force to combat illegal fireworks."
The Fontana P.D. seizes thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks each year. The San Bernardino County Fire Department has reported that small fires, including ones caused by fireworks, have erupted in Fontana during annual Independence Day celebrations.
"At this time, we have no information of people who are in possession of illegal fireworks; however we encourage our residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activities. All reports will be investigated," Dorsey said.
He said that calls relating to the use of illegal fireworks are fairly common in Fontana.
"They obviously increase during the July 4th holiday and Christmas/New Year's. They tend to taper off during the rest of the year," Dorsey said. "We increase enforcement activities as holidays approach and have undercover teams who are constantly searching for individuals who are engaged in the use and sales of illegal fireworks. The use of illegal fireworks will result in citations to those responsible and there are increased civil and criminal penalties for those who are engaged in selling illegal fireworks."
"Safe and sane" fireworks are permitted under certain circumstances in Fontana, but many Fontana residents, angered by the sounds of illegal fireworks being set off, have called for the city to ban all fireworks.
However, fireworks are illegal in Ontario, but that didn't prevent the deadly explosion from taking place in that city.