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Sunday, September 11, 2011

No, That Wasn't World War III Breaking Out

Just after 8 p.m. Saturday evening, just hours before 9-11 remembrances were scheduled to commence on the East Coast, all hell broke loose in the area surrounding the Peninsula Golf & Country Club in San Mateo. Residents blissfully unprepared for a very local _ and extremely loud and disruptive _ display of fireworks provided by club officials on the occasion of its 100th birthday were stunned when explosions began to rock their neighborhoods. It was a sustained and unrelenting barrage. Homes and cars were rocked by the nearby explosions, some of them so heavy and loud they almost seemed to be emanating from right next door. Dogs and other frightened animals cowered as the force of the blasts persisted. The bombardment went on for at least 20 minutes. Residual smoke wafted over the proceedings, drifting through residential neighbhorhoods after the pyrotechnic celebration had ceased. Telephone access on the San Mateo Police Department's non-emergency line was jammed. Finally, we got through to a dispatcher who explained what was happening. A call to a club spokeswoman produced an explanation and this proviso: "We sent out notices to the neighbors." Really? No one we talked with in the area eight blocks east of the club knew anything about an impending fireworks show. Unless we missed it, we couldn't find anything about it on the club's Web site. Shellshocked longtime residents said they had never experienced such an intrusive event before. For most of those affected, this one came right out of the blue. Sorry, someone dropped the ball.

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