Fourth expires without a hitch

The long Fourth of July weekend proved busy for local law enforcement agencies and fire departments and fire protection districts, but the bustle came primarily in the form of a barrage of phone calls.

“A majority of the phone calls revolved around fireworks related complaints,” said Capt. Rick Wallace of the Oak Harbor Police Department.

Although he did not have specific numbers at his disposal, Wallace estimated that five citations were given for possession or use of illegal fireworks or use of “safe and sane” fireworks at restricted times or at restricted locations.

“That’s within the normal range of citations for us,” he said.

Many people took advantage of the midweek Fourth, forgoing workdays on Monday and Friday, which extended the weekend and kept the phone lines ringing at the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

“This continues to be the busiest time of the year,” said Jan Smith, public information officer with the sheriff’s office. “The longer weekend made a difference. We had lots of calls, but nothing of significance.”

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue also received a considerable number of calls, said Capt. Robert Spinner, but most were surprisingly unrelated to fireworks incidents.

“It was uneventful as far as fireworks were concerned,” he said, adding that a few calls were made reporting the discharge of flares. “Otherwise, it was fairly quiet.”

Oak Harbor Fire Chief Mark Soptich said that aside from a few minor incidents, “It was an uneventful Fourth.”

One incident took place after the fireworks show at Windjammer Park when a young woman was struck by a vehicle as she crossed the street by Wendy’s. Soptich said the woman sustained minor injuries.

A major bullet was dodged when a “sparkler bomb” was found floating in the water Thursday morning. The bomb had not been detonated and was safely removed from area.

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