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Fire & Law Officials Warn Residents of Illegal Fireworks

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(PRESS RELEASE) – The San Bernardino County Fire Department, Fontana Police Department, Kaiser Permanente Fontana, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center warned residents of the potential dangers of fireworks and illegal explosives during a press conference Tuesday morning at Fire Station 79 in Fontana.

The press conference was held to combat the increase of illegal firework activity prior to the Fourth of July holiday.

“San Bernardino County is a super highway for trafficking illegal and dangerous fireworks around July 4th,” Fire Marshal Mike Horton said. “In just two weeks of operations, we have stopped and seized 27,000 pounds of dangerous fireworks for entering into the county.”

Fontana PD and SBCoFD discussed fireworks safety and enforcement, and urged residents to report illegal fireworks to local law enforcement or the WeTip hotline 1-800-47-ARSON. Fines for possessing, selling or displaying illegal fireworks range from $2,500 to $10,000 in the City of Fontana.

“There is zero tolerance for illegal fireworks,” Fontana Police Chief Bob Ramsey said. “We will have our Special Operations Team fully staffed to patrol the streets and enforce fireworks violations.”

The City of Fontana is among a handful of cities in San Bernardino County that allow the sale of “Safe and Sane” fireworks. Safe and Sane fireworks are labeled with the State Fire Marshal seal on the outside of the packaging. Residents must comply with the city’s regulations and use Safe and Sane fireworks only from June 28 to July 5 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Physicians from Kaiser Permanente Fontana and the Burn Center at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center discussed safety tips and drew attention to the severe personal injuries such as third degree burns that fireworks can cause if used incorrectly.

“The risk of fireworks injury is highest for children between the ages of 5 and 19 years old,” Dr. Alp Arkun, Chief of Service of Kaiser Emergency Department, said. “Sparklers account for 25 percent of firework-related injuries seen in emergency rooms.”

Dr. John Culhane, Director of the Edward G. Hirschman Burn Center at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, spoke to the burn injuries fireworks cause each year.

“The best way to stay out of the burn center is to follow the law. Every year we see burns from fireworks. You have to respect the ability of the fireworks to inflict a serious and life changing injury,” Dr. Culhane said.

Officials suggested following these safety guidelines if using Safe and Sane fireworks:

  • Always use Safe and Sane fireworks with an adult present.
  • Only use Safe & Sane fireworks approved with State Fire Marshal seal.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Use Safe & Sane fireworks outdoors only, away from dry grass and flammable     materials.
  • Do not give fireworks to young children under any circumstances, even a sparkler burns at 1,200 °F. Hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns.
  • Light Safe and Sane fireworks one at a time.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never alter, take apart, attempt to fix, or relight malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies and for dousing misfired fireworks.

Officials also encouraged residents to attend a local firework celebration held near their neighborhood. Residents can find a calendar of firework shows in San Bernardino County at the sbcfire.org homepage.

Information on the City of Fontana’s 4th of July celebration and fireworks laws can be found at Fontana.org. 

Photos from today’s press conference can be found at sbcofd.smugmug.com, courtesy of San Bernardino County Fire.

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Helicopter lands on Amethyst Road for crash victim

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) One person was airlifted with critical injuries following a crash late Friday night.

At 11:30 p.m., the Victorville Fire Department, deputies from the Victorville Police Department, and two American Medical Response (AMR) ambulances were dispatched to the intersection of Amethyst and La Mesa Roads for reports of a head-on crash.

– Photo Credit: Travis Dixon.

Upon arrival, firefighters located two vehicles with major damage; a gray 2018 Toyota Camry and a dark-colored sedan with one person still trapped inside.

Firefighters extricated the occupant from the vehicle and requested a helicopter to land near the scene to transport the person to a trauma center.

The Camry sustained major front-end damage. – Photo credit: Travis Dixon.

Two occupants of the Camry sustained minor injuries. The intersection was closed while authorities investigated the crash.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time. – Photo Credit: Julio Solano.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, but as of 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the intersection was reopened.

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State and San Bernardino County OK resumption of youth sports – with restrictions

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The State Department of Public Health has issued long-anticipated guidance allowing youth sports and physical education – including school-based, club, and recreational programs – to resume, as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as a class or organized team, and only when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.

Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.

Sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.

“This is an opportunity for young people to stay healthy, stay in shape, and be ready when the State allows team and other group activities to resume,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. The County Health Officer has approved implementation of the guidance within San Bernardino County.

(San Bernardino County Health news release)

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18-year-old U.S. Army Reservist Stationed at Ft. Irwin arrested on child porn charges

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old reserve with the United States Army National Guard stationed at Fort Irwin was arrested for possession of child pornography Wednesday, officials said.

Detectives from multiple agencies conducted a joint investigation involving the suspect, Neal McCoy, a resident of Fridley, Minnesota, and subsequently arrested him on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

McCoy was booked at the High Desert Detention Center for PC 311.11(A) Possession of Child Pornography with a bail set at $100,000. McCoy is scheduled for arraignment on August 7th.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Specialized Investigations Division Crimes Against Children Detail (CAC), Barstow Sheriff’s Station, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) worked together in their investigation.

In January 2020, VVNG reported on similar arrests after Steven Berg, 38, was arrested by investigators who determined that child pornography was distributed from a home within the base at Fort Irwin.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Arias of the Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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