With Independence Day falling on a Monday this year, the three-day weekend proved very busy for Dos Palos and Firebaugh fire departments and police.

Here’s a recap:

–No serious fires took place despite a plethora of illegal fireworks being set off.

–There were several wrecks on Westside roads and highways.

–A total of 12 people from Dos Palos are a little light in the wallet after being caught with illegal fireworks.

Dos Palos police chief Rich McEachin said that his officers, as well as fire department personnel, were very busy during the weekend patrolling.

“We had five officers saturating the city.  We survived and it worked out pretty well,” said McEachin.

Dos Palos police officers issued citations to 12 individuals caught with illegal fireworks.  That is a record for the police department and the fine for this is a whopping $1,000.

“I continue to hope that people will get the idea that we are enforcing this.  But apparently they are not, and I guess they think they won’t get caught,” said the chief.   

McEachin added that there were no fires in the city and only one small vegetation fire in South Dos Palos, “and that’s really good.”

In Firebaugh, the Police Activities League sponsored a Demolition Derby at the Firebaugh Rodeo Grounds on July 2nd.  It was followed by a fireworks show; Firebaugh Police Chief Sal Raygosa said the event was a big success.

“We had about 1,500 people attend, and it was a very successful event,” said Raygosa.  “We also received many compliments on the fireworks show.”

But unfortunately, the professional fireworks show did not stop the illegal fireworks from taking off.

“We had lots and lots of illegal fireworks throughout the city,” Raygosa said.  “We were operating with a skeleton crew because we had two officers out with Covid.  Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anyone.”   

In the near future, Raygosa will meet with the city attorney in an attempt to change the municipal code in regards to illegal fireworks.  Currently, the culprit has to be caught with the illegals.

“What we are going to change is to be able to go after the property owner where the fireworks are being set off and fine that individual,” Raygosa explained.

In a six-hour period on the Fourth of July, the Firebaugh Fire Department responded to eight calls, according to Chief John Borboa.

“We had some medical aids, a small grass fire and some dumpster fires,” said Borboa.  “There was no damage though.”

Firebaugh firefighters did respond to several traffic accidents during the weekend.

One occurred on July 3rd at 3:30 pm on Nees Avenue west of Firebaugh.

According to the Los Banos office of the California Highway Patrol, a 2003 Toyota Sequoia driven by Randon Slaven, 33, of Kerman was heading west on Nees near Oxford Avenue.

For an unknown reason and at a stated speed of 60 mph, Slaven allowed the Toyota to drift to the left and off the roadway, overturning in an irrigation ditch south of Nees.

The CHP said that a passerby helped Slaven out of his vehicle.  He was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries.

A CHP spokesman said that alcohol and/or drugs were not a factor in the collision and it remains under investigation.

Los Banos CHP spokesman Shannon Stiers reported that statewide, the CHP made 998 arrests for DUI.

“And sadly, 44 people died in crashes statewide during the 78-hour holiday enforcement effort,” said Stiers.  “There were three occupants not wearing seat belts, four motorcyclists and three pedestrians during that time as well.”