Many in North Fair Oaks have been finding themselves startled at night by professional grade fireworks exploding in the residential community and the Sheriff’s Office is having a hard time putting a stop to it.
The small neighborhood in unincorporated San Mateo County has been lit up as if it were a war zone nearly every night for more than a week, said a resident who preferred not to be named for fear of gang retaliation.
“The very first night, March 9, when they went off they had quite a lot of them in succession. That really loud boom, the neighbors didn’t know if it was a bomb or gunfire. It sets off car alarms and shakes the house. After, in consecutive nights, they went off. I guess by the third night people weren’t as scared because it had already happened. But they’ve gone off every night since,” the resident said.
It’s extremely hazardous because all it could take is one spark to ignite a nearby apartment and Redwood City is no stranger to apartment fires, the resident said.
Neighbors are furious as they’ve made numerous reports but the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t made any progress in apprehending the perpetrators, the resident said. Those setting off the fireworks are likely involved in gang activity and many who have witnessed the activity don’t provide any information for fear of retribution, the resident said.
Law enforcement is thoroughly aware of the problem and responds, but locating those responsible is no easy feat, said San Mateo Sheriff’s Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt.
“The difficulty with fireworks is that when they go off, obviously they’re very loud, they’re very bright and they’re very easy to see. But as we all know, shooting off fireworks comes from one small container,” Rosenblatt said. “We do the best we can to try and find where they’re coming from, but once they go up in the air … it’s somewhat of a cat-and-mouse game. It’s very difficult to catch people with fireworks.”
But the neighbors have begun to deduce it’s coming from near the 200 block of Dumbarton Avenue and occurs sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., the resident said.
“We’re absolutely frustrated, we called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because many of the neighbors just feel the [Sheriff’s Office] isn’t doing enough,” the resident said.
Yet the Sheriff’s Office is continuing to look, Rosenblatt said.
“In light of the fact that we know we have not yet found them, the intel has been put out to gang task force and we’re going to have a saturation,” Rosenblatt said. “So that we’ll be close to these fireworks when they go off. We are intently trying to find out where they’re coming from.”
Anyone with information should call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office at (650) 216-7676 or the anonymous tip line at (800) 547-2700.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106