Fiery 4th in WS

We’ve received reports of several overnight fires blamed on fireworks around WS, but the one in the High Point vicinity was by far the biggest. News coverage includes this P-I article, an update from the Times, and a KIRO update with links to video. We’re glad to hear nobody was hurt, but honestly, this is why personal fireworks are banned in cities like ours. Fun, sure; dangerous and damaging, unquestionably, no matter how hard you try to keep it safe.

30 Replies to "Fiery 4th in WS"

  • Agen July 5, 2007 (12:38 pm)

    Down in Delridge, the constant fusillade of explosions lasted for well over an hour, and woke our newborn (which was very frustrating, as it’s a trick to get him drowsy on a quiet night these days). Both my wife and I agreed this will be the last July 4th we stay at home in West Seattle unless something seriously changes in the attitude toward personal fireworks (i.e., a city-sponsored education campaign about the dangers, illegality, and noise pollution that these things cause). I never thought it would come to this, but it looks like I’ve become a grumpy old man. Kids’ll do that to you.

  • Genevieve Williams July 5, 2007 (12:47 pm)

    Highland Park was pretty dang noisy, too. I know we’re less than a mile from unincorporated King County, but we’re still within the city limits, dangit. The cops came down the nearest arterial at least once but it sounded like the fusillade started right up after they left.

    I almost went up to High Point to see if I could see the Elliott Bay show from there. Now I’m, uh, kinda glad I didn’t.

  • s July 5, 2007 (1:05 pm)

    People were setting off fireworks until at least 1am near where i live (a block west of california ave near ws high school.) of course it was too warm to close the bedroom window…

    we watched the big show from alki beach, where we also observed teenagers shooting roman candles AT each other. also, a member of our group along with some others on the beach had to put out a fire from some kids setting them off on the footpath.

  • Jen V. July 5, 2007 (1:08 pm)

    we heard there was also a fire just west of the Junction- can anyone confirm?

  • Lauren July 5, 2007 (1:23 pm)

    I got to call 911 once (someone lit the grass next to Gatewood Elementary on fire) and the police twice last night. I’d leave town, but I’d be worried about some jackass lighting my backyard/roof on fire with an errant firework. I’m with Agen, either fireworks need to be illegal state-wide, or the city of Seattle needs to get serious about education/enforcement.

  • Michael July 5, 2007 (1:34 pm)

    Delridge on the 4th of July has been like a day in Baghdad for years now. You’d think the police would have gotten a clue and begun patrolling.

    I have the feeling that so many cops are called for duty at the two major shows that there are none left for patrols – and the illegal fireworks users know this.

    The only improvement is that when the people in the ramshackle house on 26th moved a few years ago, their full month of pre-4th nighttime fireworks moved with them.

  • Agen (Grumpy Old Man) July 5, 2007 (1:35 pm)

    I should also clarify – we had constant explosions in Delridge for well over an hour straight, but we were also hearing intermittent fireworks going off until after 2am.

  • A July 5, 2007 (1:47 pm)

    Agreed on the city getting serious. Nobody seems to care. Our neighborhood (near Westwood, technically the convergence of 4 neighborhoods) was going strong until well after 1am. What’s sad to me is that many of our neighbors are refugees – if the constant sounds of booming freaked ME out, what must they do to someone who has come here to escape a war-torn country?

    I can’t leave my house. Flat roof plus neighbors who get way out of control = we stay up and keep an eye out for errant M80’s. As it was, one landed a foot from our car. I have grown to hate the 4th.

    If you’re old and grumpy, Agen, so am I. At 35. Sad.

  • j July 5, 2007 (1:49 pm)

    Agen, you sound like your own baby that woke up. Quit your crying. Is this not America? Land of the free and home of the brave? 1 day a year where people can let loose with fireworks. I’ll light off fireworks for the rest of my existence.
    I have an idea, maybe you whiners should all move to Canada. How does that sound?

  • star July 5, 2007 (1:58 pm)

    we live in westwood and i’ll second the grumpy old parent thing, we have a 2 yo and he was up much of the night scared. :-( Maybe i’m missing something, but what is fun about making your neighbourhood sound like a war zone?

  • MargL July 5, 2007 (2:15 pm)

    Our 1 year old thankfully slept thru the ‘show’ of bottle rockets and roman candles that our neighbors here in Arbor Heights were ‘kind’ enough to share with the whole neighborhood. We had a couple fans going and I think the white noise helped. It didn’t seem as crazy as in years past even though we’re only a few blocks from the city limits and can see White Center from here.
    When the kid gets older I’m sure we’ll be pestered to buy the ‘works and find a place to light them up but until then I’ll be the grumpy old NIMBY parent too.

  • Magic 8 Ball July 5, 2007 (2:16 pm)

    One night a year of fireworks noise (maybe two if one counts New Years Eve) and people complain?!? I don’t set off fireworks, but can live with it on the rare occasion.

    Heck, y’all better start practicing yelling at the neighbor’s kids to keep off your lawn.

  • Todd in Westwood July 5, 2007 (3:54 pm)

    It was terrible here last night. Why do they even let people buy fireworks that are illegal? I thought anything that exploded or flew was a no-no.

  • osprey1 July 5, 2007 (4:22 pm)

    Arroyo Beach and Arroyo Heights were crazy with fireworks and thick smoke. The drunk rich guys down the street bragged about how much money he spent on his fireworks display. What a lesson for your kids…watch your money go up in flames!

    According to the Seattle police, “The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks is prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.”
    If the police actually enforced the fine think of how much money the city could recover!

    I don’t have kids at home and I’m not a grumpy old person except when it comes to idiots setting off fireworks.

  • osprey1 July 5, 2007 (4:22 pm)

    Arroyo Beach and Arroyo Heights were crazy with fireworks and thick smoke. The drunk rich guys down the street bragged about how much money he spent on his fireworks display. What a lesson for your kids…watch your money go up in flames!

    According to the Seattle police, “The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks is prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.”
    If the police actually enforced the fine think of how much money the city could recover!

    I don’t have kids at home and I’m not a grumpy old person except when it comes to idiots setting off fireworks.

  • T. De July 5, 2007 (4:24 pm)

    It sounded like a war zone behind the Alaska Junction area as well. We were surprised, because it was much quieter last year. The night was topped off by a an exciting garage burning down next to the new park off Alaska and 48th – compliments of fireworks. Many of the neighbors who gathered complained about the fireworks and why there didn’t seem to be any enforcement this year. We’re very grateful for the quick response of the WS firefighters, keeping the flames and wind blown embers from torching houses.

  • The House July 5, 2007 (4:55 pm)

    I can’t believe how bad all of you suck. You’re telling me that all of you NEVER set off fireworks as kids?? You’re telling me that none of you thought that fireworks were fun to see and that they never dazzled you? I have two kids under 4 years old and they slept through the noise (yes, we’re close to Roxhill Park which turns into an artillary zone every July 4th) and enjoyed the displays when they were up. I lit off lots of fireworks last night and all of the parents and kids enjoyed them. Please stop advocating taking the enjoyment out of the holiday. The folks that started fires are simply irresponsible and they should be held accountable for any fires they start, but let those of us who are responsible have fun one day out of the year. Focus your hatred on much more important issues than something that happens 1 time per year.

  • s July 5, 2007 (5:00 pm)

    Todd in Westwood–Unregulated Indian Reservations are a big place to buy fireworks… casinos and fireworks.

    I got woken up last night at 3am by firecrackers.

  • miws July 5, 2007 (7:25 pm)

    Thanks to being so beat from work, and with the aid of “white noise” from a fan in the bedroom, I was able to sleep pretty well, once I went to bed around 10:30. Although I was jolted awake a few times initially as some boomers went off just as I was dropping off to sleep.

    I heard several go off, beginning just before 10:00. I have both east and west windows in my apartment, and didn’t actually see many to the east, as I was at my ‘puter desk near the west facing window. I did see several, though, to the west in the Southworth/Manchester area.

    I think that any fire caused by fireworks should be treated as arson, especially if buildings are involved. I suppose it would be too much to ask that it be charged in the first degree, although I think third degree would be reasonable.

    Of course, it’s all dependant on catching the person that set the fireworks off.


  • ms_f July 5, 2007 (7:29 pm)

    We have a tiny little patch of a “viewpoint/park” at the end of our street in North Admiral. It’s city property and is technically just the end of a dead-end street: it’s probably less than 20 feet x 20 feet of dried grass and vegetation, directly between two houses. There was a gathering of idiots (from outside the neighborhood) lighting rockets at the edge of the bushes. The “show” went on relentlessly for a few hours. How easy would it have been to start a fire on this hillside which is surrounded by houses? Why is there no police enforcement in the neighborhoods? It felt like were in in Bagdad. And they left all their garbage behind. Independence Day…Bah humbug!

  • V Bar July 5, 2007 (11:46 pm)

    I grew up in small towns and we did light fireworks alot there – it was fun, sure. However, there is a reason why some places allow for fireworks (i.e., legal) and some places do not (i.e., illega). It’s a pretty simple formula and seems crazy that grown adults should have to be reminded of that fact. I live on California near Charlestown. About an hour after the big fireworks shows were over and the traffic was steadily heading south on California, I watched several idiots set off some huge and extremely loud fireworks (m-80s and the like) across the street from my building in the parking lot of a dentist’s office. A few minutes later, flames started up one of the trees in the lot of the office. After what appeared to be some attempt to put out the flames and a bunch of laughter – they all piled into a car and took off. Before I could get through to 911, the Fire Department showed up, amazingly fast, considering how busy they must have been. Thank goodness for their willingness to scour the whole lot and make sure the fire was indeed out before they left.

  • s July 6, 2007 (12:55 am)

    Anybody know if the cops were out giving tickets to people with fireworks? The San Francisco online paper had an article that detailed the number of firework-related tickets, arrests, etc given out in SF on July 4. It would be a good deterrent if our Seattle cops a) ticketed people with fireworks and b) told the press how many tickets they gave out. If people know that the police are actually out patrolling for people with fireworks, I think it would help.

  • Jan July 6, 2007 (10:08 am)

    House…you are responsible…that’s good…but ya gotta admit that there are a lot of idiots out there, both children and adults, who could give a damn about someone else’s ears or property. The people on here who disagree with you don’t “suck”..they just have a different perspective. Sure fireworks are fun for kids…tell that to the woman who lost her 8 year old son who died from schrapnel from an exploding cannon, probably lit by a “responsible” adult. Tell that to the persons on 30th and Findlay who lost homes just being built. And if it’s your garage next year, you just may temper your feelings a little. Some of us celebrate the birth of our nation in other ways, and that’s OK, too….diversity, diversity, diversity…

  • star July 6, 2007 (11:30 am)

    i loved fireworks as kid, and it’s fun and I really don’t begrude someone setting them off, at a reasonable time. you don’t need to do at 1am. I respect that fact that people enjoy it, that’s fine. But respect the fact that others want to sleep and keep your fireworks displays within respectful hours. How hard is that?

  • Gina July 6, 2007 (2:57 pm)

    Much as I enjoy setting off fireworks, I do not do so in the city limits of Seattle, because it is against the law. If the laws of Seattle are not to ones liking, one can easily move to another area nearby without any fireworks laws. I don’t see the point of living somewhere where I would feel that I must break the law, even for “only one day out of the year.”

    Many midwest states have inexpensive homes and allow fireworks.
    At this time the lawmakers have heard from those that do not want fireworks. If lawmakers hear from a majority that want fireworks, the law would change, and they could be set off legally.

    I don’t see the point of calling 911 about every ladyfinger that one hears lit. Blocks 911 calls about fires or injuries getting through.

  • Jan July 6, 2007 (4:32 pm)

    Gina…the local news shows were telling people to NOT call 911 about illegal fireworks….that if you wanted to report them, to call the NON-emergency # listed in the front of the phone book. The probem is that so many poeple call in to 911 that eventually it generates a busy signal, and no one gets help. Police can’t be everywhere…we need to use common sense and choose our battles..

  • Mike July 6, 2007 (5:02 pm)

    This is really an enforcement issue. The law is there. Until it is enforced and people feel the financial pain of breaking the law, it will continue. As for lost sleep, waking babies or even distraught pets, that is the easy stuff to get over. It is the loss of a house, or injury that is sad.

  • miws July 6, 2007 (7:01 pm)

    The problem regarding enforcement is, that even if SPD didn’t have an Officer shortage, they still wouldn’t be able to respond to every incident, just due to the sheer volume of people setting them off.

    One thing I forgot to mention on this thread, and on the pre-4th thread that I replied to, is that I doubt very many of the what I stereotypically consider to be “drunken idiots” (nothing against drinking, though I seldom drink nowadays, I still enjoy having a few, a few times a year) are setting off their bottle rockets, roman candles and M-80’s with patriotic feelings.

    And to those who complain about us anti-fireworks people as being “whiners”, and those that set off their fireworks “responsibly” why should someone have to wait until their house is burned down, and/or someone in their family is injured or killed, due to errant fireworks, before an enforcement action is taken?

    You want to be left alone, and not harrassed and be able to set off your fireworks “responsibly”? Fine! YOU police the idiots! Don’t expect us to differentiate between you and them, and only report them to the authorities!


  • flipjack July 6, 2007 (11:51 pm)

    ya see? there are so many people doing it the police can’t respond…sounds close to anarchy to me.
    You people comparing this to Bagdad should sometime take the opportunity to feel the ground shake as a 500 ton bomb explodes miles away from your neighborhood, or go clean up the debris that used to be your house, help carry away dead bodies that used to be your neighbors or family or friends…funny how skewed our safe American perspective can be.
    Hope you had a happy 4th

  • s July 7, 2007 (9:59 am)

    It doesn’t matter if there aren’t enough police to ticket everybody. If at least SOME police roam around and hand out tickets, then it’ll be a deterrent. The point isn’t to shut down each person as they light a firecracker. The point is to deter others from doing it.

    What’s the point of having a law if it’s not going to be enforced?

Sorry, comment time is over.