City preps for the FourthBy Heather Murtagh
There were a variety of fireworks to display, which meant many trips for Thiel from the booth to the large container holding the fireworks. Fireworks are sold annually in San Bruno for a limited time, the week of the Fourth of July.
Nonprofits can apply to run such a booth as a way to raise money.
Thiel, who was one of the founding members of San Bruno Pony Baseball, noted that over the years that revenue has meant the ability to build and maintain a ball field at Belle Air Elementary School, Thiel said. Now the revenue goes toward replacing fences and keeping the equipment in top shape.
Pony Baseball is just one organization that benefits from the sale of fireworks in San Bruno. Booths are set up for schools, volunteers for Camp Saint Andrews, which helps lower the cost for children to attend a one-week camp in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and the Rotary Club, for example.
Groups will be selling the fireworks deemed "safe and sane" from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout San Bruno through the Fourth of July. While the sale supports local nonprofits, and is in the spirit of celebrating American independence, it is also a time when calls to police and fire agencies increase.
San Bruno and Pacifica are the only cities in San Mateo County that allow the sale of fireworks. All police and fire staff in both cities will work this holiday, with Pacifica getting extra help from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. As it was last year, both cities will enforce a $1,000 fine for possession of up to 25 pounds of illegal fireworks - a measure they hope will act as a deterrent.
Using, selling or having illegal fireworks in San Bruno and Pacifica will come with a steep fine and the possibility of jail time. A 2008 state law allowed both cities to punish those in possession of 25 pounds or less of dangerous fireworks with up to $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail.
In 2009, San Bruno had 39 fireworks-related arrests but saw an overall drop in calls with 272 in 2008 and 208 in 2009. For both cities, there is a $200 fine for first-time offenders, $400 for the second offense and up to $1,000 for further offenses of lighting small amounts of fireworks.
Purchasing legal fireworks does not give residents the go-ahead to light them whenever they want. Safe and sane fireworks may only be used in the cities that allow sales. In Pacifica, approved fireworks can be used or discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 5. In San Bruno, fireworks can only be used between noon and 10 p.m. through July 3 and from noon to midnight on July 4.
Pacifica also has restrictions as to where fireworks can be set off. Fireworks are prohibited on Manor and Sharp Park beaches. Allowable fireworks can be set off at Linda Mar and Rockaway beaches.
Residents of San Bruno can call 616-7100 to report illegal use of fireworks. Residents of Pacifica can call 738-7314.
Copyright ©2010 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 06/30/2010.