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July 24, 2021

Police, firefighters busy over holiday weekend

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—As hundreds of people across Santa Cruz County set off an arsenal of fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend—both the illegal and the “safe-and-sane” variety that were allowed in the cities of Watsonville and Capitola—the county’s southernmost city saw several serious incidents.

Watsonville Police Department officers from July 3-4 responded to 264 fireworks-related calls, and issued citations for 46 fireworks violations, WPD spokeswoman Michelle Pulido said. In all, WPD seized 115 pounds of illegal fireworks.

Watsonville Fire Department fielded 40 calls for service over the same time, Pulido said.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause of a vegetation fire on Miles Lane Sunday night where a suspected drunk driver injured a Watsonville firefighter and two other people.

A house fire on Crestview Court early Monday morning is believed to have been sparked by fireworks. Firefighters say the residents put spent “safe-and-sane” fireworks that had not been properly extinguished into a trash can, where they ignited. 

The residence sustained smoke damage, and PG&E shut off power after an outlet was damaged. Three adults and their pets were displaced.

In addition, WPD officers arrested five drunk drivers and investigated three DUI-related crashes.

WPD headquarters was also vandalized over the weekend after someone shot and shattered an office window.

In the unincorporated parts of Santa Cruz County, sheriff’s deputies handed out 137 citations and confiscated 202 pounds of illegal fireworks. One person was arrested for possessing illegal fireworks, in addition to vandalism and public intoxication, sheriff’s spokeswoman Ashley Keehn said.

Santa Cruz Police Department spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said that officers in Santa Cruz issued 40 citations for infractions such as fireworks, alcohol-related, open containers and traffic violations.

A total of 14 people were arrested for public intoxication, DUI, assault and various warrants, Blaschke said.

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