As the use of legal and illegal fireworks exploded this Fourth of July, Long Beach issued 13 fireworks-related citations and saw a 67% increase in calls to its dispatch center compared to an average day, officials said on Monday, July 7.
During the 24 hour period of Saturday, July 4, The Long Beach dispatch center handled 3,854 calls, and 1,301 prompted a response, officials said. On an average day, the center gets about 2,301 calls and about 566 prompt a response. A press release from the City stated that 779 of the calls to the City Dispatch Center were fireworks-related.
According to the press release, From 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., the peak time period, the City Dispatch Center received 449 calls. The calls were both 9-1-1 and non-emergency lines. This averaged to 10 calls per minute.
“Staffing in the Dispatch Center was augmented by 40% between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. for the anticipated increase in call volume,” the press release said.
It was not clear how many of those calls were specifically related to reports of illegal fireworks or the several small fires reported on the Fourth of July that did not cause injury or damage to any structures, according to city officials.
The City press release stated that 23 fireworks-related calls were responded to by the Long Beach Fire Department, which included tree/bush/grass fires, trash fires and house/apartment fires related to fireworks.
On Independence Day, 13 fireworks citations were issued, officials reported. Additionally, 13 people were arrested for felonies and 10 for misdemeanors, for various offenses.
In the weeks before the holiday, 59 fireworks-related citations were issued in Long Beach. City officials also said they recovered 808 pounds of fireworks during peak firework season between May 22, the start of Memorial Day weekend, and July 4.
“These fireworks were confiscated by the LBFD Investigations Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Arson Unit Task Force for safe disposal through the State of California, Fire Marshal’s Office,” the press release stated.
Aligning with the Los Angeles County, over the Fourth of July weekend, Long Beach beaches were closed to the public. Fireworks shows, block parties and other large gatherings were not allowed, the City press release said.
Additionally, in its response to the Coronavirus, the State of California has issued the closure of bars, indoor dining rooms and indoor museums in Los Angeles County to limit the spread of the virus. The City of Long Beach established the Venue Task Force in order to make sure compliance with mandated closures and safety protocols is taking place. The Task Force conducts educational outreach to businesses and verifies compliance with the City’s Health Order.
The task force visited 655 locations during July 2-4 and issued nine administrative citation warning notices to businesses for violating the Health Order. The businesses visited were mostly bars and restaurants, according to the press release.