Morgan Hill Police issued a number of citations for the illegal use of fireworks over the holiday weekend, but authorities think the increased presence of public safety volunteers and firefighters helped keep the damage minimal.

MHPD officers issued at least four citations for illegal fireworks on July 4, according to Sgt. Scott Purvis.

“Patrol officers definitely responded to quite a few firework related complaints,” Purvis said in an email. “However, what helped dramatically, was the combined effort of Morgan Hill CERT volunteers and CalFire personnel who provided a presence in Morgan Hill neighborhoods.”

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team, a program run by MHPD and the city’s public safety staff that helps with high-profile or large-scale events.

On each night from July 1-4, CERT had four teams of two volunteers each working throughout Morgan Hill to provide a visual deterrent for potential fireworks violators, and to report any violations they saw back to the police department, Purvis added. “Their presence greatly reduced the number of firework related complaints and potentially prevented dangerous fires from igniting,” Purvis said.

No fires were reported in Morgan Hill in relation to fireworks, police said.

The holiday weekend kept MHPD officers busy with other calls, including DUIs, simple batteries, domestic violence and vehicular hit and run incidents, Purvis added.

The city’s annual Freedom Fest professional, licensed fireworks show took place the evening of July 4 at the Outdoor Sports Center.

Fireworks are heavily regulated by state and local authorities in California. The pyrotechnic devices have been known to cause out-of-control fires that have destroyed structures and property.

According to Bay City News, throughout the night on July 4, firefighters responded to dozens of fireworks-related fires in Contra Costa County, Vallejo, Oakland and San Francisco.

The City of Morgan Hill issues tripled fines for violations of its municipal fireworks ordinance during holiday periods, including Independence Day weekend.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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