Fireworks weren’t as much of a problem around the Fourth of July holiday this year as in the past, resulting in fewer complaints and even fewer tickets in Pierce County.
Fireworks are illegal in several cities, including Tacoma, Fircrest, Steilacoom and Ruston. They can be legally set off in other areas from June 28 to July 6.
No major injuries from fireworks were reported in Pierce County this year, though at least two people sought medical treatment due to fireworks, said Marce Edwards, a spokeswoman at MultiCare Health System. Last year, the state Fire Marshal’s Office said 34 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in the state.
Dispatchers with South Sound 911 fielded 534 callers complaining about fireworks on July 4, the agency reported. That number dropped to 233 complaints the next day.
The number of complaints and the number of tickets issued has been dropping in Tacoma over the past few years. Residents phoned in 831 fireworks-related complaints in 2011, 700 last year and 595 this year, according to department statistics.
As for citations, 66 were issued in 2011, 21 were handed out last year, and eight were issued this year. Officers also issued two verbal warnings this year.
Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said it can be hard to catch people with fireworks, which is one explanation for the decrease in tickets.
“We have to actually catch them with the fireworks,” she said. “If they see us coming, a lot of times they drop the fireworks and run.”
Tacoma police have partnered with firefighters to hand out educational fliers advising residents that the festive explosives are illegal in the city. They also put the word out through community groups.
Up to six officers were paid overtime to respond to fireworks-related emergencies or complaints during the enforcement period, which lasted from June 28 to July 6.
Focusing on Portland Avenue Park on the city’s East Side this year helped reduce the number of fireworks issues, officials said. The playfield often attracts people wanting to light firecrackers because it is close to fireworks stands and because of the open area.
This year, officers were stationed at the field to keep people away, and Metro Parks Tacoma scheduled the sprinklers to turn on at midnight to further dissuade activity.
Police have not yet released the amount of fireworks confiscated. .Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653 firstname.lastname@example.org