San Bruno's fireworks policy questioned in aftermath of blast 

What would be worse for San Bruno’s Glenview neighborhood than the fire that brought devastation and trauma?

Another fire.

Right now, the neighborhood that burned to the ground after September’s pipeline explosion is a wide, windy grassland, which, some residents point out, could be a bad combination with San Bruno’s relaxed fireworks policy.

San Bruno is one of two cities in San Mateo County that allow “safe-and-sane” fireworks to be purchased and used — a policy reaffirmed by the city’s voters in 2005. But at least one neighbor is calling for a temporary ban of fireworks to protect the still sensitive — and possibly fire-prone — neighborhood.

Nancy Wynschenk, whose home barely escaped the conflagration, wrote City Manager Connie Jackson noting that empty lots are an attraction for setting off fireworks — and could be a ripe setting for another fire. She also noted that the racket from fireworks “might be a reminder to those of us that survived the blast.”

“We are already very sensitive to noises and this would further aggravate the healing process,” she said.

But Jackson said that because voters supported the continued sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks in a ballot measure in 2005, the only way that policy could be changed is if it was put forth to voters again.

However, she said she will ask the city’s police force to “assign special attention and enforcement” to the neighborhood.

The city’s safe-and-sane fireworks policy already prohibits fireworks from being set off on vacant lots, and also bars any fireworks that explode or fly. Safe-and-sane fireworks are typically fountains, sparklers, strobes and spinners — fireworks that generally pose no fire risk when detonated in a driveway.

But illegal fireworks are an entirely different story, and those are common throughout the Peninsula, said San Bruno Fire Chief Dennis Haag. Exactly how much of a fire danger those will cause will depend on the weather and wind between now and then.

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Katie Worth

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