SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Officials in San Jose are enacting a new ordinance that holds homeowners and party hosts liable for illegal fireworks their guests set off.
The so-called “social host” ordinance is meant to be a deterrent to illegal fireworks during the fourth of July and other holidays.READ MORE: Decomposing Body Found By Horseback Riders In Fremont Hills; Investigation Underway
“People already know it’s illegal. They just don’t care,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez, who helped craft the new ordinance.
Peralez said it’s designed to take the guesswork out of who’s responsible for shooting off illegal fireworks when traced to a home or house party.
“What the social host ordinance does is it actually allows us to issue a citation to that responsible party. So if it’s at a house party, the owner of the house,” Peralez said.
Peralez is concerned because he’s already heard and seen illegal fireworks being shot off in his neighborhood. And it’s still only May.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect Arrested After 94-Year-Old Asian Woman Stabbed In San Francisco's Tenderloin Neighborhood
“Leading up to holidays like the Fourth of July, we see a slow trickle of illegal fireworks. That is already happening,” he said.
Last Fourth of July, the San Jose Fire Department responded to so many spot fires caused by illegal fireworks that they couldn’t keep up, and had to ask neighboring departments to help cover the city.
“Our firefighters were stretched beyond their limits and we did need to reach out for mutual aid from the county for support,” said San Jose Fire Department spokesperson Erica Ray.
Neighbors say every year it seems to get worse.
“We hear them, these loud rockets. We think they’re going to land in our back yard,” said Cathy Tobenk, who lives in South San Jose.MORE NEWS: Two Children Age 8 and 12 Suffer Minor Injuries in Oakland Shooting
San Jose will have the new ordinance in place by July with fines starting at $1,000 for a first offense.