Thursday, July 9, 2020

Illegal fireworks calls to CSPD spike

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 11:55 AM

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Bombs bursting in air aptly described neighborhoods across the city on 4th of July weekend, and the Colorado Springs Police Department has the numbers to prove it.

For some reason, Springs residents went wild with fireworks this year, despite fireworks being illegal.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department sent out notices days before July 4 emphasizing that fireworks are illegal to possess, sell and use within the city limits, but thousands of residents shot off firecrackers and aerial fireworks.

The loud bangs continued until well past 11 p.m., as reported on NextDoor and other social media.

CSFD's Michael Smaldino reports via email the department responded to eight calls for service in the 24 hours of July 4. Those included two structure fires in which fireworks were suspected, two grass fires, two smoke investigations, a vehicle fire caused by fireworks and one other fire.

For 30 years, he says, the city has made fireworks illegal, a message the city has conveyed via news releases, social media and on yard signs at fire stations stating, "Fireworks are illegal."

While the department will pursue charges against someone they identify has caused a fire with fireworks, this year the fire marshal issued only one summons in connection with a structure fire.

"As you can see, our calls for service concerning fireworks are relatively low for these 24 hours," he says. "Please remember, we will only respond if there is damage or injury."

Smaldino referred the Indy to the Colorado Springs Police Department for call information. That data shows that fireworks calls doubled in May from last year, increased nearly five-fold in June compared to June 2019, and showed sizable increases in July and on July 4 from the previous year.

Officers were dispatched at a greater pace as well.

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CSPD spokesperson Natashia Kerr tells the Indy that citations are still being entered into the system, so a total is not yet available.

Stating the obvious, she said, "... based off of the number of calls for service and how many reports we responded to this year, the number of fireworks around Colorado Springs was much higher than previous years."

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