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Holiday trouble minimal
The Fourth of July hitting on Friday meant a busy day for police officers. Fortunately, there weren’t any major incidents reported and the majority of island residents had an enjoyable holiday.
Sheriff Mark Brown said deputies were busy Friday, but that was not unexpected.
“I don’t know if it’s anything out of the ordinary for a Fourth of July on a Friday,” Brown said.
There were a number of illegal fireworks complaints reported. From July 3 through July 6, deputies responded to 89 fireworks complaints, which is a slightly higher number than reported last year, said Kelly Mauck with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies had a busy day in addition to responding to complaints. They helped coordinate the parade at Maxwelton and the fireworks celebration in Freeland. Brown said the parade presents some challenges because there isn’t much parking even though more people are drawn to the event every year.
Police officers in Oak Harbor also enjoyed a relatively quiet Independence Day weekend. During the time people could legally discharge fireworks, the number of complaints was down from last year. In 2007 officers responded to approximately 110 fireworks complaints. In 2008, officers responded to only 67.
Police Chief Rick Wallace said he wasn’t sure what caused such a sharp decline, although the weather likely played a part. But he pointed out that the number of calls officers responded to represents a small fraction of the city’s population.
“The overwhelming number of citizens enjoyed the Fourth,” Wallace said.
The wet weather leading up to the holiday also helped make it a slow weekend for local firefighters.
“It was actually pretty quiet,” North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Marv Koorn said. “I think a lot of that has to do with the rain.”
The rain that soaked Whidbey Island Wednesday night and Thursday left damp conditions for the Fourth.
The only incident firefighters responded to was when people shot bottle rockets into a tree near the corner of Scenic Heights and Balda roads.
Firefighters on Central Whidbey Island also had a slow weekend.
“We didn’t have one fireworks-related incident,” said Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Joe Biller. The only activity firefighters had was routine medical calls.
In addition to the cool weather, he attributed the slow weekend to the safety messages in the local media reminding folks how to act legally during the holiday.