July 10, 2007

Bakersfield ban on fireworks back in discussion


Last Update: Jul 10, 2007 11:15 AM

BAKERSFIELD - Fire investigators are still looking into whether some small fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

That, coupled with injuries suffered yearly, has reignited the debate on whether fireworks should be banned in Bakersfield.

You may remember a few years ago, Bakersfield Fire Chief Ron Fraze proposed to ban the sale of fireworks in the city, but it wasn’t well received.

The chief said he still supports the ban, but doesn’t plan to push for it again.

Fire and police officials arrested dozens of people and confiscated half-a-ton of illegal fireworks this year, but it’s not just illegal fireworks that caused problems.

Since Fraze pushed the ban, changes have been made, including the ban of Piccolo Petes and ground bloom flowers in the city.

Some believe more needs to be done.

Others argue we shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others, and non-profits benefit greatly from the sale of fireworks.

"There's a lot of folks that would like to see something happen when you look at the air quality, you look at the problems that we have with the SPCA and the animals every year, the injuries, the fires," Fraze said.

"People get hurt. There are accidents that happen even with the Safe and Sane fireworks,” said Knights of Columbus member David Verrell, “but I don't think the number of people that are injured in Bakersfield or in Kern County are in a great enough proportion that we should ban them altogether."

Fraze said it will likely take a grassroots group to push for a ban, and maybe even get it on a future ballot.

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