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Officials Ready to Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks for Holiday Weekend

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- With an eye in the sky and boots on the ground combined with your help, the chief of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department said he and his crews will be able to crack down on illegal fireworks this holiday weekend.

“It just prevents that unwanted catastrophe. If somebody's house burned down or someone suddenly loses their hand or their eyes who wants to celebrate a holiday like that?” Fire Chief Gene Neely said.

We spoke to a couple of men who said their neighborhoods sound like a war zone every Independence Day.

“It's a danger with those fireworks because the people aren't paying attention and they're running across the street you know and kids get burned and kids get hurt,” Steve Dresser of Lathrop said.

To keep families safe, some neighbors plan on alerting fire officials of illegal fireworks through the “Nail ‘Em” app.

“I never used it. Ok, this is new but maybe I might start using it now that I know that it's available,” George Jackson, also of Lathrop, told FOX40.

Last year was the app’s debut but it hit a snag. Fire Chief Neely said a coding error prevented officials in Manteca from receiving those reports. But now the app is in working order.

“That is a great tool to utilize so that you can identify those individuals that are illegally using fireworks and we can cite them,” Chief Neely said.

With firefighters out on patrol and with the help of their drone which will be going up from 8:30 pm to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and for the next several nights in search of illegal fireworks, the Chief said they’ll be able to keep Lathrop and Manteca safe.

The Fire Marshall said as of Thursday night, there were 41 reports of illegal fireworks that were sent to them via the app. While safe and sane fireworks are allowed in most San Joaquin County cities, they are not allowed in unincorporated areas.

If you would like to watch a free fireworks show, the Lathrop Sunrise Rotary Club co-sponsors the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show which will take place on Saturday, July 1 at the Lathrop Generation Center starting at 6 pm.