The sale of fireworks has been an annual tradition in Union City for decades, and those brightly decorated sales booths are easy to spot around town.
The Alameda County Fire Department has inspected all fireworks booths and signed off for sales to begin today at noon, according to department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.
Each booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 4.
These booths can only sell “Safe and Sane Fireworks” — those approved by and bearing the California State Fire Marshal seal. Their use in Union City is only permitted through July 4, Knowles said.
Booths can be found in parking lots throughout Union City, including , the Shopping Center and multiple locations throughout Union Landing, among other locations on Whipple Road, Mission Boulevard, Dyer Street and Union City Boulevard.
See a full list of fireworks booths here.
Union City is one of only three Alameda County cities permitted to sell and use fireworks designated as "safe." Newark and Dublin are the other cities allowed to sell and use fireworks.
Union City has a zero tolerance policy for illegal fireworks.
“A lot of people assume they can shoot any fireworks,” said Lt. Ben Horner of the Union City Police Department. “As a rule of thumb: if it blows up or shoots into the air, it’s illegal.
“They may look pretty, but they can be dangerous,” he added.
Horner said UCPD has responded to a number of fireworks-related injuries and roof fires in previous years.
Though fireworks may be legal in Union City, rigid rules are in place.
According to the Union City Municipal Code:
- Only those marked “Safe and Sane” can be used.
- Fireworks can only be used on private property and with the property owners’ permission.
- Fireworks cannot be used at parks, commercial areas or in public streets. Parks, which are usually open from sunrise to sunset, will close at 7:30 p.m. on July 4.
- They cannot be used within 10 feet of homes and other places of habitation.
- Fireworks cannot be used east of Mission Boulevard. “It’s so dry up there (in the hills), it’s dangerous,” Horner said.
- Fireworks can only be used from noon to 10 p.m. on July 1, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 2 and 3, and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4.
These laws are strictly enforced, Horner said.
Anyone in violation may face a $100 infraction fine for the first offense, with fines increasing for repeat violations. Possession of certain types of illegal fireworks may also be considered misdemeanors and carry a fine of up to $1,000, Horner said.
More officers will also be on duty on Fourth of July.
“We want it to be a safe and enjoyable holiday for families,” Horner said.