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Defiant South Bay Fireworks Fans Ignore Law, Fire Risk to Light Up Their Fourth

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Across San Jose the sky was lit up with illegal fireworks Thursday despite a renewed push from city leaders to crack down on the Fourth of July tradition.

"I think it should be legal," said Rosalio Chavoya. "It's safe. Everybody here, they clean up their mess."

Chavoya was among dozens in Alviso who set off fireworks in the streets despite the fact that it is against the law.

Last year, piles of debris were left behind in Alviso from fireworks. There was even damage to one car caused by the explosives.

This year, Chavoya armed himself with a broom and was seen cleaning up fireworks after they were set off.

"Last couple of years we've been doing this," said Chavoya. "It's safe, a family-oriented thing."

Betty Kesler, who lives near Communications Hill, said she's witnessed what fireworks could wreak in the wrong hands.

"It scares me when I see the kids, the teenage kids up there," she said. "We've seen them up there throwing fireworks -- literally, I took video of them throwing fireworks up -- thank God nothing happened at the time."

This year, San Jose city leaders, as well as firefighters, reminded residents they could take a picture of a person setting off fireworks and send it in to be corroborated before a citation is sent to the person.

There's also a fireworks hotline where people can report violators.

Those who are cited can be fined up to $1,000.

Despite the push, some said it's a tradition and not even the law will get in the way of their tradition.

"It's just a family thing, you know, everybody does clean up their mess," said Veronica Chavoya. "Everybody is not going to put their kids in danger, it's all about getting together and family."

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