The weeks surrounding Independence Day were rather explosive in Auburn, culminating in a roaring celebration of the 244th birthday of the United States. With most public events canceled, celebrations occurred in neighborhoods. While some enjoyed the neighborly experience, others grew frustrated with the constant explosions from loud fireworks.
Love them or hate them, the fireworks kept both the Valley Regional Fire Authority and Auburn Police Department busy.
163 Calls for Service
In the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, seven Auburn police officers worked firework emphasis patrols. The department had 28 officers on duty for July Fourth, “that included groups for city enforcement, parks enforcement, and stands enforcement,” said Auburn Police Commander Sam Betz.
From 11:00a.m. on July 4 to 8:00a.m. July 5, Auburn Police received 163 calls for service specifically related to fireworks, confirmed Betz. Officers wrote 11 firework infractions, all on July 4 and 5. No firework-related arrests were made.
Two Fires and Four Injuries
VRFA had an additional engine unit (one Captain, two firefighters), and aid unit (two firefighters) staffed for the July Fourth holiday. Crews were dispatched to 49 calls, eight of which were firework-related. Two fires and four injuries are known to be firework-related.
VRFA also provided mutual aid to neighboring cities on July Fourth. Crews assisted Puget Sound Fire, Mountain View Fire and Rescue, and South King County Fire and Rescue. In the three weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, VRFA responded to 26 firework-related calls. King County Medic One was utilized a total of three times. One of these calls required airlift transport.
In 2019, VRFA responded to 42 calls for service on July Fourth. Two of the six fires in 2019 were known to be a direct result of fireworks. There was a total of seven firework-related aid calls on July 3-4, 2019.
The quick thinking of three gentlemen visiting from Seattle helped prevent a fire from being much worse. Working with a neighbor that stopped, they used a garden hose and fire extinguisher to control a fire in a tree. The four were able to stop the fire from spreading to nearby apartments.
“Their actions prevented the fire from spreading further to a commercial building. This is a great example of how community members can step up and help out when needed,” VRFA Battalion Chief Matt Kinnee said.
The three blokes were rewarded with nifty badges for their awesome work.