Archives for category: Fullerton Firefighters


Honk if you found one of these six inch rockets on your roof.

For 26 years the City of Fullerton has hosted a popular fireworks display launched from Fullerton College and visible from the Fullerton Union High School stadium and other vistas throughout the city. Two and half years ago, a citywide vote led to the controlled sale of “safe and sane” fireworks at a limited number of locations for a few days leading up the the July 4 holiday. Sales benefit local non-profits selected from a lottery drawing of applicants. It’s so tightly controlled that these legal fireworks are only allowed be ignited between the hours of 10:00 a.m  and 10:00 p.m. on July 4. Aerial fireworks of any kind are banned.

In reality, legal fireworks are set off well after the 10:00 p.m. curfew, and illegal fireworks abound in the city long before and after the July 4 holiday at any hour of the day or night. Aeriel fireworks soaring hundreds of feet high and capable of landing on dry rooftops are a common sight at night. Window rattling explosions that sound more like military ordinance than festive noisemakers continue unabated, making the city sound like a war zone. One has to wonder how these shockingly loud explosives can be set off from the same locations, sometimes night after night, without interruption by the authorities.

On the evening of July 4 a police dispatcher estimated the number of calls concerning illegal fireworks to the department on that day alone to be 200. Naturally, callers are asked for the address of residences where illegal fireworks are being ignited. Of course, it is difficult for callers to know exact addresses when explosions are heard or rockets launched blocks away.

Even a causal observer can attest to the fact that the problem of illegal fireworks has gotten worse since Fullerton allowed for the sale of the legal varieties two years ago, and the police department seems to be able to do little or nothing about  the spread of dangerous pyrotechnics. Instead, the city’s strategy seems to be to bear with it while it lasts, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. Fire department crews and volunteers stand by for possible fires in the hills, while firefighters can be found at quaint neighborhood block parties with their trucks available for inspection by residents.

The sale of legal fireworks has made the use of illegal ones easier, and emboldened those who profit by the sale of them. Dangerous rockets and explosives can easily be purchased in neighboring states, and Mexico, and transported back to Southern California. Are these the “illuminations” cited by City Council during the vote to place the legality measure on the ballot in 2012 (over the objections of the fire chief)? What is most startling is that, other than a web page dedicated to “fireworks sales and discharge,” city officials seem to have nothing public to say about the problem. If the City of Fullerton cares about the quality of life experienced by its residents, then it should either come up with a better strategy to protect people and property from illegal fireworks and their noise, or look closely at the downside of allowing the sale of the legal ones.

Pink Hook and Ladder

The Fullerton Firefighters Association (FFA) is using it’s Pinktober “Let’s Extinguish Cancer” campaign to promote one of their chosen candidates for Fullerton City Council. Last Thursday night Fullerton’s firefighters parked their “Pink Tribute Fire Engine,” a custom pink wrapped firetruck to honor victims of cancer, across Wilshire Ave., near the market’s west entrance. The vehicle’s normally red surfaces were entirely covered with a bright pink ribbon graphic to honor victims of cancer. Cancer survivors are invited to sign their names on the truck.

Pink Alvarez

Coming to your neighborhood soon.

Leaning against the pink truck Thursday night were pink signs promoting Rick Alvarez for Fullerton City Council. The signs read “Fullerton Firefighters Support Rick Alvarez” and featured a graphic of a firefighter helmet in white against a pink background. Mr. Alvarez has received $ 5,000.00 in direct contributions by the FFA, the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters. He is one of two candidates, along with incumbent Doug Chaffee, to be endorsed by the union (no pink Doug Chaffee signs have yet to appear). The truck is scheduled to be at the Fullerton Market on Thursday nights throughout the month of October.

According to their website ‘“The Fullerton Firefighter’s Association would like to announce the 3rd annual Pinktober Event for the month of October. Since its inception, the Fullerton Firefighter’s have raised over $34,000 to aid in Cancer research. Our motto this year is “Let’s Extinguish Cancer with Fullerton Fire”.’

The firefighters are sponsoring a local teacher who has Stage 4 Breast Cancer. If you are reading this column chances are that you know at least one person, probably more, who have been diagnosed with cancer. The Rag understands why local firefighters might want to help raise funds to fight this terrible disease, but conflating the suffering of the cancer stricken with support for a City Council candidate is beyond distasteful.

Alvarez Pink Signs

The Rag isn’t anti-union, but voters should remember that the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters is going to back the candidates they think will give them the best deal when their contract with the city is up for renewal. Council members who will eventually approve a contract with a union can be elected (ok, probably not Rick Alvarez) with tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and independent expenditures from that same union. That’s what it means when a sign says “Firefighters support..” or ”Your police support…” a candidate (or two).

The FFA can and will choose candidates to endorse in the upcoming election, and voters can choose how much they value that endorsement when casting their ballots in the City Council race, but it is beyond the pale to mix a political investment in a candidate with a campaign to honor and support cancer victims. “Pinktober” lasts through the entire month of October–the home stretch of election season. It is hard to believe that signs supporting Rick Alvarez are just coincidentally pink. The next time Fullerton’s firefighters roll out their Pink Tribute Fire Engine they should leave their signs at home, and stop posting them around town, or risk being perceived as cynically exploiting the suffering of cancer victims for their own political purposes.


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