A window-rattling explosion startled Coastside residentsWednesday night. Police received a high number of calls about the explosion at around 10:40 p.m.
That was followed by the discovery of a 3-inch mortar shell that had been inappropriately set off near Roosevelt Beach in Miramar and “actually had destroyed the plastic container it was set off in,” said Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Clayton Jolley with the San Mateo County Fire Department/Cal Fire.
Now police and fire officials are on the hunt for the perpertrator(s), and they're not taking it lightly.
“This was a professional display pyrotechnic firework,” said Jolley. “We found shrapnel from the container 50 to 60 feet from where we believe it was launched. That's how powerful and dangerous it was. This is a serious issue."
Illegal mortar-based fireworks are often received through Internet orders and clandestine shipping, explains Jolley.
“This creates a problem because they are an explosive, and if they are not launched properly as shown last night they can explode containers and send shrapnel very far,” said Jolley.
Firemen searched the area Wednesday night with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office for the culprits but were unable to locate them.
“We are concerned because these kind of professional pyrotechnics are very dangerous as witnessed by the explosive power of the one last night that actually blew apart a very thick plastic container,” said Jolley, who has seen people injured from fireworks in the past, having to fly them out to the hospital.
“This is a very serious thing that we are very concerned about and want to get a handle on before someone is truly hurt,” said Jolley.
Fire officials are asking residents to be aware of what’s going on in their area and if they live near the beach to keep an eye out particularly at night when people are out on the beach and could be doing these kind of activities.
“We encourage the public to call 911 if they see any suspicious behavior,” said Jolley.
Or if you have information about anybody with that professional level of fireworks or any kind of fireworks, call the Coastside Fire Protection District's fire marshal office in Half Moon Bay at (650) 726-5213.