City Council to Renew Rewards to Stop Fireworks-Related Offenses

RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Riverside City Council members are slated Monday to reauthorize rewards for information that leads to the apprehension of individuals whose illegal use of fireworks inflicts injuries or destroys property.``Illegal fireworks create an injury risk for residents and their guests, while also increasing the risk of fire and the potential danger for our firefighters,'' Mayor Rusty Bailey said. ``Riverside is strongly urging residents to stay away from illegal fireworks and have a safe Independence Day.''

The council will convene a special session Monday morning at City Hall to re-establish a reward system first implemented in June 2017. Under the program, $1,000 will be available to any person whose information proves critical aiding authorities in identifying and arresting an individual for causing injuries or property damage from pyrotechnics. 

Anyone caught and convicted of igniting them within city limits can face fines of up to $1,000.According to the Riverside Fire Department, during the week of July 4, 2017, 129 citations were issued for fireworks violations. Those tickets resulted in $65,000 in penalties, some of which are still being collected, officials said.``Illegal fireworks usage in the city definitely dropped last year as a result of our citywide efforts, especially those of our police and fire departments,'' Councilman Chris MacArthur said. ``I'm hopeful we can continue that trend, and I encourage everyone to attend the (July 4) shows.''Fireworks displays are scheduled at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the following locations in Riverside:-- Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, 14th and Pine streets;-- La Sierra Park, 5215 La Sierra Ave.; and-- Mount Rubidoux Park, 4706 Mt. Rubidoux Drive. 

City officials are encouraging anyone who sees illegal fireworks activity to call the police department on its non-emergency line: (951) 354-2007. 

Anonymous tips can also be phoned into the city's 311 call center. In Riverside County, private parties are prohibited from using fireworks except in Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio, where so-called ``safe and sane'' fireworks, certified by the state fire marshal, can be sold to the public. 

The devices are mostly pyrotechnics that don't explode or fly, including sparklers, ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps. Municipalities can authorize fireworks demonstrations, and the county grants permits for shows in unincorporated communities. 

Under county Ordinance 858, fines for illegally storing, transporting or setting off fireworks can range from $500 to $1,000.According to county officials, any person who triggers a brush fire due to the illegal use of fireworks will be held responsible for all suppression costs.

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