North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Fireworks incidents reduced over Fourth

 


This Fourth of July was the first with a fireworks ban in place for the City of Marysville and the Marysville Fire District and Marysville Police Department reported reduced use.

The number of emergency responses because of fireworks was much lower than previous July 4 holiday periods, according to the Marysville Fire District.

“We saw a significant drop in calls for service this year,” said Marysville Fire District fire marshal Tom Maloney.

From June 24 to July 4, the district responded to 11 fireworks-related incidents, including fire and injuries.

“We had one injury which was in Boom City,” said Maloney.

The district covers areas outside Marysville city limits as well. Seven of the fireworks incidents were within the city.

In past years the City of Marysville area was averaging more than one dozen fireworks-related incidents each year, according to the district.

Public education and information specialist for the fire district Christie Veley wrote that the July 4 holiday falling in the middle of the week may have also been a factor in the decrease.

The Marysville Police Department also used 84 overtime hours to man firework emphasis from June 30 to July 5.

“However, patrol officers, specialty assignments were all a part of the emphasis on their regular scheduled shifts,” said commander Mark Thomas of the Marysville Police Department.

During that time the department got 246 calls for “bang” complaints. On July 4 the department received 180 of those calls.

Thomas said that Marysville police issued a total of 49 tickets during that six-day period and issued 12 warnings.

On the Fourth of July, 43 of those tickets were issued and 10 of the warnings were issued.

One of the goals of the ban was to make it simpler for local police to issue tickets to lawbreakers.

"The new municipal code adopted by the city certainly made it easier for us to fight fireworks when it was appropriate,” said Thomas.

Issuing tickets to those who shot off illegal fireworks in the past required a high bar for officers to meet, said Thomas.

"The big difference we had was that fireworks possession was illegal. So before if you turned the corner after the fireworks went off you couldn't always issue a citation if you didn't see who set the fireworks off,” he said.

"This has made it more straightforward for the officers,” he said.

Veley wrote that preliminary reports show that the majority of Marysville citizens did adhere to the fireworks ban.

The Marysville City Council passed the fireworks ban in early 2016 after a 2015 advisory ballot measure in which 59 percent of voters supported making fireworks illegal.

Awareness campaigns of the ban and police efforts could have played roles in reducing this year’s fireworks use and incidents.

“We believe that education and enforcement played a role in this as well,” said Maloney.

Thomas said that the city ran an aggressive media campaign to get the word out, including on the city’s website, social media, local school reader boards, brochures, email notices to neighborhood groups, newsletter notices and through local newspapers.

More information on fireworks rules around the county is available at snohomishcountywa.gov/290/Fireworks.

 

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