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Crews See Busy Fourth
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Illegal fireworks and two brush fires started by fireworks in two separate areas kept local fire crews busy all night, Wednesday, July 4.

The first brush fire occurred on Gilbert Avenue and was quickly put out but another brush fire sparked a blaze on Crane Road that burned a half acre and took an hour for firefighters to contain.

There were multiple calls for dumpster fires because people didn’t observe proper disposal methods for their used fireworks and simply tossed them into their trash cans at the end of the night, added officials, and the illegal fireworks continued to light up the sky all over Oakdale, in spite of the zero tolerance approach taken by law enforcement.

“The illegal fireworks were all over the place,” agreed Capt. Matt Severson of the Oakdale City Fire Department. “It was nonstop.”

For fire and police personnel, the night was filled with running from one call to the next without end.

“We were up every two hours,” Severson said. “We’d just get back from a call and have to head back out again.”

Police had little luck in tracking down the perpetrators using illegal fireworks.

“We weren’t able to catch anyone,” admitted officer Max Messina with the Oakdale Police Department. “As soon as we turn the corner, they’re gone.”

There weren’t a rash of DUI arrests over the long holiday period, but there was a drowning preceding the July 4 holiday.

A 15-year-old Yuba City boy drowned on Tuesday, July 3 at Woodward Reservoir outside Oakdale, according to official reports.

The teen, identified as Matthew Yitevarek, was swimming with another teen when he went under and drowned.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department deputies administered CPR but the teen could not be revived.