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Illegal fireworks enforcement: what city leaders have to say

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 19:29:31-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Massive fireworks displays were seen all across Corpus Christi on New Year's Eve, but it's against the law to set fireworks off within city limits.

That led to many calls and complaints to local law enforcement. KRIS 6 spoke to the city manager and fire chief about those complaints, who both said the police department and fire department were very busy on New Year's Eve, but everyone did they best they could do enforce the law.

Fire Chief Robert Rocha says this was the busiest year for the fire department on the holiday, since he's headed the department for the past eight years.

"We were going from call to call," Rocha said. "We have our regular volume on a daily basis, add to that fireworks calls, (and) it created a perfect storm."

The chief blames the increase in fireworks activity because of easy accessibility to buying fireworks, and a change in state law. A law passed several years ago prevents law enforcement from confiscating fireworks before they're brought into the city.

Rocha also said the weather played a factor in many of the fires the department battled on the holiday.

Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni and the chief both said everyone was overwhelmed by the huge number of complaints. That's why they want to make some changes for next year.

"If the city had a function at the bay or somewhere, it would draw more people. It would mean less people at home lighting off their own fireworks," said Zanoni.

Zanoni said the police department issued a number of fireworks citations, but he couldn't give an exact number.

Zero citations were issued last year for illegal fireworks activity in the city.