Police Chief George Crum and Interim Fire Chief Blake Goetz provided an update on the firework complaints, arrests, citations, and fire calls to the city council last night. Their data encompassed calls of service from May 27 – July 6, 2020 from the police department and June 27 – July 20, 2020 from the fire department.
The police department reported that this was an above average year for calls for service. From June 1, 2020 to July 6, 2020, the police received 708 calls for service related to fireworks. Over their past few months, they arrested 18 individuals including one juvenile and issued seven citations. Additionally, they confiscated multiple boxes of illegal fireworks.
The fire department reported seven calls for fire service related to fireworks between June 27, 2020 and July 20, 2020 as people continued to light fireworks beyond the 4th of July holiday. Most of the calls were responding to palm tree or trash fires as the embers from the fireworks rained down. However, two calls were elevated. One caught grass on fire and burned 4,000 square feet of a vacant lot. The other elevated call on July 20th in the Dream Homes neighborhood was more severe. The suspected illegal fireworks destroyed a home, six cars, and damaged two adjacent homes next door. Mutual aid from neighboring cities was called in to help extinguish the fire. Luckily, no one died in the fire, but the results could have been more dire as it occurred around midnight when most people are sleeping.
Beyond property damage, illegal fireworks startle pets and they are a noise nuisance to surrounding neighbors.
If you have illegal fireworks at your home and need to get rid of them, the fire department recommends these safety procedures:
- Gather them loosely in a container
- Fill container with water to cover all fireworks
- Let them soak at least 24 hours
- Gather soaked fireworks into a plastic bag, seal to keep them moist
- Place plastic bag in your trash receptacle for the next waste pickup