People headed to Crescent City in droves for Fourth of July fun on Thursday, but law enforcement officials say they didn’t respond to many “major incidents” during the holiday.
The county’s emergency dispatch received about 17 calls for loud or illegal fireworks. One Crescent City police officer confiscated some Piccolo Petes that had been modified to explode at Second and E streets, according to the call logs. But Crescent City Police Chief Doug Plack said most people complied with the city’s fireworks ordinance.
“(This) is very much appreciated by the department, which is overburdened for calls for service during that particular holiday,” Plack said. “The compliance that the public has generated has really allowed us to focus on the more serious life-threatening situations that do arise around that July 4 holiday.”
In the days leading up to Independence Day, Plack launched an educational campaign, reminding residents that the only legal fireworks are those deemed “safe and sane” by the California State Fire Marshall’s Office. Fines for using or possessing illegal fireworks range from $1,000 for the first offense to $3,000 for the third offense.
But despite the relatively mellow holiday for the rest of the city, the fireworks activity at Beachfront Park seems to have been a nuisance. The police department enlisted the help of the CalFire, the Crescent City Fire Department, Crescent Fire Protection District and the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, but Plack said they have their own calls to take care of.
“It’s very difficult to organize and structure them to be involved in the issues that pertain to Beachfront Park,” he said. “To curtail that situation down there it will take more resources than what the police department has readily available.”
City officials have been concerned about the level of illegal fireworks activity at Beachfront Park for decades, Plack said.
“We are looking for the citizens and visitors to maintain compliance with our local laws pertaining to the illegal use and possession of fireworks,” he said. “The city educational campaign is working, but these kinds of educational campaigns take years to establish a certain kind of behavior.”
Arrest numbers were not available as of Friday afternoon.
Firefighters with the Crescent Fire Protection District did assist Calfire firefighters in tackling a wild land fire on the 100 block of China Creek Court at about 5:20 p.m. Thursday, said Fire Chief Steve Wakefield.
Fort Dick firefighters responded to a report of a brush fire on Tell Boulevard in the Pacific Shores area at 7:42 p.m. Wakefield said Calfire officials led the response
Calfire officials were not available for comment on Friday.
Del Norte Sheriff Deputy Gene McManus said the sheriff’s office also experienced a relatively quiet holiday. Confiscation of illegal fireworks were minimal, he said.
“The wind was blowing and it being in the middle of the week made the festivities a little less intense this year,” he said.