Police wrote 13 citations while responding to over 700 fireworks calls on 4th of July, city says

Despite the citywide ban on fireworks and the cancellation of professional firework shows, Long Beach was still lit up for the Fourth of July on Saturday night.

All professional firework shows, gatherings and block parties were not permitted by the city in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but the city’s emergency dispatch center received 779 fireworks-related calls during the 24-hour period of July 4, according to Long Beach officials.

In total, first-responders fielded a 67% increase in calls compared to an average day. That amounted to 1,301 calls for service, the city said in a news release. The Long Beach Fire Department responded to 23 fireworks-related calls for trees, bushes, trash, house and apartment fires.

Police ended up citing 13 people for fireworks-related infractions on July 4. In addition, they arrested 23 people on a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges not related to fireworks, a spokeswoman said.

The small illegal shows weren’t just relegated to Saturday night. Residents could hear the explosions for weeks leading up to the holiday. In that time, police issued 59 fireworks-related citations, according to the city. Investigators also seized a little over 800 pounds of fireworks between Memorial Day weekend and July 4, which will be disposed of through the state fire marshal’s office.

The city prosecutor’s office launched a portal for people to submit fireworks complaints and photo and video evidence on June 22, which led to 460 complaints. As a result, the city prosecutor’s office has sent out 205 letters to the addresses where the complaints have been identified, which notified the recipients of the law and warns them they will be fined if they continue.

Residents can still use the portal to report illegal firework activity, officials said.

Officials also said they visited 655 businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, between July 2 and 4 and issued nine citation warning notices to businesses in violation of the city’s health orders.

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Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.