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Local News

Fireworks calls keep authorities busy in region

July 5th, 2011 11:17 pm by Becky Campbell

Some of the fireworks complaints Johnson City police responded to over the July 4 weekend involved a group of teenagers shooting the explosives at homes, cars and even police officers, according to an incident report.
One man reported a firework flew into his open passenger window and exploded in front of him inside the car around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
The man told police he was traveling on West Unaka Avenue “when a firework entered the open passenger side window and struck the driver’s side windshield where it exploded.”
The man was not injured and there was no damage to his car. He told officers the suspects “appeared to be juveniles with backpacks.”
That was just one of several similar calls about juveniles throwing fireworks at houses, cars, people and police officers. When police tried to apprehend the suspects, they ran away.
According to Washington County E-911 Assistant Director Randall Lewis, there were 260 calls classified as “fireworks” complaints between midnight Friday and mid-afternoon Tuesday in Johnson City and Washington County.
The highest call volume for fireworks complaints came on Monday, with 107 individual calls.
Comments on the Johnson City Press’ Facebook page were split on the number of people who were bothered by the explosive revelry. Many said the noise didn’t bother them as much as it did their dogs. Others said there should be a ban on fireworks after a certain time.
It wasn’t just fireworks that kept police, fire and medical personnel busy. Lewis said the call volume for the holiday weekend was up, although not extraordinarily.
“It wasn’t an extremely high (call) volume, but it was a moderately high volume,” Lewis said.
The total call volume for police, fire and medical agencies in the city and county were 592 on Friday, 549 on Saturday, 500 on Sunday and 474 on Monday.
As far as police and sheriff’s office calls, Lewis said those numbers were, respectively, 370 and 99 on Friday; 302 and 110 on Saturday; 313 and 95 on Sunday and 275 and 95 on Monday.
Johnson City and Washington County weren’t the only places where fireworks complaint were lodged. Officers in Sullivan County, Hawkins County and the city of Kingsport received more than 300 complaints over the holiday weekend — and all involved fireworks.
It seems the lifting of an ordinance in 2010 that had banned fireworks inside Sullivan County and Kingsport spawned all-night parties, as Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 61 residences from Friday until late Monday.
Kingsport resident Karen Osborne woke up Tuesday morning to a yard filled with shot-off bottle rockets and other fireworks debris. Then she lodged a complaint with the city’s code enforcement office.
“It sounded like a war zone. I was getting hit on every side at one point with rockets and (other debris) coming onto my property,” said Osborne of a neighborhood fireworks show.
“I had rockets in the front yard, the driveway, the back yard, and on the tarp covering my boat,” Osborne said. “I can’t believe that they are letting people get away with this. I just think the city has to strongly reconsider things when it comes to fireworks.”

The NET News Service contributed to this report.

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