Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Sept. 27, 2022

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July Fourth fireworks spark hundreds of complaints, no tickets in Clark County

By , Columbian staff writer, and
, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
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The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office did not issue any citations to people who were caught lighting fireworks for the Fourth of July, despite a fireworks ban in city limits and hundreds of complaints to a centralized call center.

Instead, fire investigators gave verbal warnings.

“We took a proactive approach this year to try to really educate the public,” Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli said.

Unlike last year, fireworks were not banned in unincorporated Clark County. No citations were issued there.

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to five fires over the weekend that were fireworks-related, including three on the holiday, according to Fire Marshal Dan Young. He said there were a couple of dumpster fires, along with a townhouse that was under construction and caught fire.

Young said it was the opposite of a quiet weekend this year without a ban in place. His office didn’t have the manpower to respond to reports of grass fires sparked by fireworks.

The Fireworks Call Center received more than 750 calls from throughout the county during the three nights the center was open. Of those, about 450 of them came in Monday night, according to Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency spokesman Eric Frank.

Four fire investigators were on duty in Vancouver and patrolled the city on the holiday to remind people of the ban, Scarpelli said. The fire marshal’s office started patrols when fireworks went on sale June 28, ramping them up for the holiday, and planned to continue them through Tuesday.

No fireworks were confiscated during the patrols, Scarpelli said.

Last year, the Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office issued seven citations, confiscated fireworks 16 times on the holiday and issued nine warnings. In 2020, the fire marshal’s office issued 45 citations, down from 64 citations in 2019 and 104 citations in 2018, Scarpelli previously told The Columbian.

Last year, Clark County fire investigators wrote seven citations to people they had already warned and linked fireworks to two house fires, but otherwise described it as a quiet weekend of people largely respecting the ban.

Scarpelli said it’s unclear if fireworks were to blame for any fires or injuries in the city this year; reports won’t be ready until the end of the week. Young is also still aggregating reports for the county.

Reports from the Clark County dispatch center on the number of fire calls over the weekend will also be available later in the week.


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