Oakdale Police reported that units were kept busy responding to numerous call-to-call complaints about fireworks during the long Independence Day Holiday weekend, Friday, July 4 through Sunday, July 6. Police also were tied up providing traffic control assistance for a brush fire near the Oakdale Airport.
Oakdale Police Sergeant Joe Johnson said calls of fireworks explosions, some coming in as gunshots, kept patrol officers busy on Friday, July 4. Like in many cases, callers reporting the fireworks can only give a general area where they are being shot off, so it is difficult for officers to track down specific individuals responsible for the use of the illegal fireworks.
There were no major incidents reported for the weekend by police, although the airport fire did require the response of both police officers and firefighters.
According to Don Gutridge, caretaker for the city airport, a large brush fire was rapidly burning north of Donnelly Field in the evening hours of July 4 and was threatening a 12,000 gallon aviation fuel storage tank at the facility
An Oakdale Fire Department representative said they received the call at 9:23 p.m., a call of a brush fire reported in the area of Laughlin Road. In addition to Oakdale City Fire Department, two units from Oakdale Rural Fire Department responded to the fire and police provided traffic control.
A fourth unit from Stanislaus Consolidated later responded to fight the blaze that consumed nearly a half-acre.
All police and fire units cleared the area shortly before 11 p.m.
Fire officials said no structures were damaged and the airport wasn’t exposed to harm.
Gutridge stated the fire could have been caused by a huge two-hour long rocket powered fireworks display that was just up wind of the airport that he thought was coming from the area of a Sierra Avenue junkyard.
Locally, there were some professional aerial fireworks displays, in hopes of keeping the use of illegal fireworks down, encouraging residents to use the ‘Safe and Sane’ variety approved by the state Fire Marshal.
Mistlin Sports Park in Ripon and the local Woodward Reservoir had overhead fireworks displays, professionally operated, on their Fourth of July Friday night schedule.