East Palo Alto police arrest nearly a dozen for fireworks use


East Palo Alto police cited 10 people and took one person into custody for illegal possession of fireworks during a July 4 that filled the city with thousands of explosions on Monday night.

This year's detonation of fireworks caused more noise and went on longer than in past years, some longtime residents said. The igniting of mortars, bottle rockets, fountains and other explosive devices occurred despite a major arrest and confiscation of more than 600 pounds of fireworks just days before the Fourth of July celebration.

Police arrested Michael Burt Fields, 54, on June 30 for felony possession of fireworks and explosive devices after serving an arrest warrant at a Gardenia Court home. The confiscated fireworks had a $12,000 street value, police said.

But that did not stop some residents from firing off thousands of fireworks and explosive devices, including some guns.

Police Commander Jeff Liu said he estimates that police confiscated hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks and explosive devices from residents Monday night.

In all, 11 people were arrested. Ten who were apprehended received citations and one person was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City, Liu said.

"The only person who was booked was because he was too drunk to care for himself," Liu added.


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12 people like this
Posted by EPAMom
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

They didn't cite anyone in my neighborhood. Large explosions and fireworks were flying over my house from every direction for hours!

3 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Wish they'd made some arrests in Greenmeadow.

6 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm

So how many people were arrested for the exact same thing in surrounding cities? I honestly want to know, that would be good reporting. I suspect the answer is very few arrests, and probably fewer citations compared to a similar number of fireworks.

13 people like this
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Seriously? Over four hours of full aerial barrage in our neighborhood (The Willows). No exaggeration, it was nonstop from 8:30 to after midnight. And in all that time, only 11 citations were issued and one drunk hauled in?

Despicable behavior by our fellow citizens and pathetic performance by the EPA PD. Two aircraft in the air all night. Full patrol and ZERO control. These fireworks are 100% ILLEGAL in our entire region. What has to happen to make this stop.

Hey, I guess the good news was that I didn't hear any idiots with guns firing in the air this year (then again, not sure I could have heard it over all the fireworks)

9 people like this
Posted by EPAcitizen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Coming over the Dumbarton bridge last night toward EPA around 11pm and it looked like a Beirut war-zone over the EPA skyline. Looks like they were using the big commercial fireworks that the city typically uses. Oakdale Avenue/Glenn Way/Lincoln Avenue area sounded like Afghanistan gun battle. They were firing the big M5000's at around 5:30 AM this morning...crazy!!

1 person likes this
Posted by Tony
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

this gets worse every year. 5-6 years ago you would hear a few fireworks and it would last a couple hours. Now it begins weeks before the 4th and involves loud explosive devices. The police i'm sure are overwhelmed. I wish there was an easy answer to reversing this but i fear it will only get worse. My advice - take a trip to Canada!

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Definitely a much bigger "show" this year than it has been for a number of years. Not nearly as many sirens, however - I only remember hearing one response. It is true that these fireworks present serious risks to safety and personal property, and I can't condone them in any way, but they are there and I have to admit that we really enjoy hanging out in the backyard watching them (with hoses at the ready).

I did hear gun celebrations at least twice, which is concerning. These have been rare in the past ten years, so I really hope this isn't making a comeback. If they're fired into the air, those bullets do come back down to earth and can kill or injure people. I've come across people who have suffered devastating injuries from this.

@Really: I'm sure that there are some of these fireworks in many of the surrounding cities, but nothing even remotely approaching the level of EPA, so I wouldn't expect any of those cities to have many, if any, arrests.

4 people like this
Posted by Maurice Druzin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2016 at 3:20 pm

There were a series of large explosions in Eleanor Pardee Park from 11pm to about 1am
Palo Alto Police Department should be more proactive in patrolling all the parks on holidays, and especially July 4th

8 people like this
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Quite honestly--I love it! What a great way to bring in the fourth. While I know they are illegal, and I am grateful for the police doing their job--I think maybe some of you are taking things a little serious--lighten up and enjoy!

6 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Fireworks in EPA are out of control. Nobody objects much to fireworks on July 4rth itself, but pretty much everyone hates explosive devices going off randomly in the middle of the night in the weeks leading up to the holiday. I had a M-80 go off in back of my house that started a brush fire that the fire department had to put out. Sadly, a small percentage of the EPA community has crossed the line with fireworks, ruining it for everyone. I think the only solution moving forward is strict enforcement of the law. Fireworks can be fun, but right now EPA is being literally bombarded day and night.

4 people like this
Posted by it's not over!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Mark my words we will have many more days or perhaps weeks of this. Obviously not as bad as last night, but still why do people need to use fireworks at 230 or 530am like the past couple weeks. Only to annoy people, a sad commentary on the cretins who do this .

10 people like this
Posted by Lynn_Ahmet
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm

EPA Resident: Lighten up? You enjoyed the fireworks but let me tell you my dog and other neighbors' pets did not. The night of the 4th was really bad for my dog so we went to a hotel. As the night went on she kept shuddering and whimpering and trying to hide under furniture. The fireworks in EPA went on for HOURS. Today, Tuesday, is a work day for me and there was no way I was going to fall asleep with explosions happening on average every 7 seconds. Did you know ex-military with PTSD can have a very difficult time listening to fireworks? Did you know that fireworks release chemicals and toxins in the air? Do you own a home or do you have nice things in your home that could possibly be destroyed in a fire caused by sparks from fireworks?

18 people like this
Posted by EPA needs to solve this
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

we as a community should demand this issue be discussed by the police and city government and demand some action. Stiffer fines, more police on the streets,. I hate to say it but also law abiding citizens need to report their neighbors and be vigilant. Fireworks aren't done in the privacy of a house they are outside and it's pretty obvious who the culprits are.

4 people like this
Posted by Been there
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 7:05 pm

The police were clearly outnumbered last night. I have a somewhat crazy idea that probably has legal and liability ramifications but here goes:

Maybe we should have an all-day community celebration with food, games, music and professional fireworks. Maybe contests for the best giant sculptures based on an annual theme, sort of a Burning Man without the burning or nudity.

We might also add a supervised field where people could shoot off their own fireworks. Entrance would mean you indemnify the city and take responsibility for yourself and your kids. We saw a lot of kids out last night handling fireworks dangerously with NO parental supervision.

We are never going to stop this activity in EPA. It's been going on for decades and it is getting worse. This year was the biggest we have experienced in our nearly 50 years living here. If we can get the majority of people in one spot maybe that would mean the police could go after the miscreants who shoot mortars over our homes and guns in the air!

One of the downsides of this of course is that if we sanction this illegal activity more people might do it. I'm trying to think of creative ways we can change things besides relying on the not very effective status quo and running our cops ragged.

Maybe we could have a "safe field" days leading up to the holiday where people could go and there could be supervision. We've had a lot of fires awfully close to homes that were started by fireworks.

Even if you reject this part of the idea maybe having a truly fun event that goes on all day and into the evening, including fireworks, will satisfy many people. We could also engage youth by having the sculpture building for the contest in the field starting a week or so in advance with the promise of significant prizes to get kids' minds and hands on something other than fireworks.

Got other creative ideas.? Let's make EPA "safe and sane" for next year's 4th!

Like this comment
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:17 am

Good ideas, Been There! EPA residents will figure something out - or else the responsible residents with hoses won't be able to keep up. It really was a long show the other night and shooting off the big mortars in residentail areas is just reckless.

FWIW, in (West) Palo Alto there are a few decades-running block parties on some cul-de-sacs and other short streets where neighbors of all ages come out for the kid activities like bike decorating contests, water ballon tossing, a big BBQ and then after dark the sparklers and safe & sane (but, yes, here illegal) fireworks set off in the middle of the street by highly responsible parents with hoses at the ready and everyone a safe distance. I wonder if the laws could ever be changed around here to allow such safe & sane fireworks during set times and safe place?

Like this comment
Posted by tiredofthebs
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 6, 2016 at 10:50 am

It seems some people will never be happy. I seem to recall in years past that no one was issued a citation, so 11 this year is a big step.

1 person likes this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm

And judging from last night there are at least a dozen more out there with fireworks!
I don't think I've ever heard so many explosions in the days before and after the 4th.
What's up with that?

6 people like this
Posted by sad commentary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by Soul Brother
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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