Tracy Police Department dispatch records show that a woman called 911 at 10:06 p.m. Friday to say she was taking someone to the hospital. Five minutes later, an official at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital informed police that a man had arrived with injuries to his hands, bleeding and smelling “like he was on fire.”
The man was treated for “severe trauma to both hands and his chest from fireworks — from an M80 explosion,” according to the dispatch log.
An employee in the Tracy police records department said there were 54 calls made to the police about illegal fireworks in the 24 hours of July 4, but no citations were issued for illegal fireworks possession.
Division Chief Andy Kellogg of the Tracy fire department said that injuries caused by illegal fireworks are not typically reported to the authorities.
“We don’t always hear about them, because people are reluctant to call 911 because they are doing an illegal activity,” he said. “They are illegal, so they are not trained or familiar with explosives, and that’s what they are — explosives.”
Kellogg added that while he was not familiar with this particular incident, he knew from experience that M80s were highly dangerous.
“Anything that explodes or goes into the air has the potential to create bodily injury or property damage,” he said. “I’m glad more people didn’t get hurt. The opportunity and chances were there, and fortunately nobody else got injured or hurt that we’re aware. I’m sure there are a number of minor to moderate burns.”
In addition to police officers, firefighters patrolled the city on the holiday and responded to calls about illegal fireworks activity.
“This year was worse than last year when it came to illegal firework use,” Kellogg said. “Some of the explosions that we heard on the Fourth of July sounded to be the equivalent to a half a stick of dynamite.”
Firefighters did not confiscate any illegal fireworks, he said, but they did take the opportunity to explain the dangers to people. The division chief said that any people found with illegal fireworks still in their possession destroyed them with water when asked.
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