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Published: Thursday, July 5, 2012, 6:47 p.m.

Fireworks injuries fewer, but still serious

EVERETT -- At least a dozen people in Snohomish County were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks injuries over the Fourth of July holiday, officials said Thursday.
Two suffered eye injuries deemed serious enough that they required treatment at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. One person was rushed directly to the region's trauma center.
In one case, an aerial firework tipped over and struck a man, 65, in the face, according to Snohomish County Fire District 1 reports. That incident occurred around 10:40 p.m. at the intersection of 138th Place SE and 55th Drive SE at Silver Firs east of Everett.
A south Everett woman in her early 50s was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett after a firework blew up near her ear.
Eleven people were brought to Providence emergency rooms. Nine were treated and released. Two others with serious injuries were transferred to Harborview. One suffered an eye injury; another was burned. Their ages and hometowns were not immediately available.
If history repeats itself, the emergency room can expect to treat more people for fireworks injuries as they light up fireworks not set off on the holiday, hospital spokeswoman Teresa Wenta said.
"We don't want people to be lulled into a sense of complacency," she said.
There is some good news.
The number of people being treated for fireworks injuries has been declining in recent years, Wenta said. The drop coincides with more cities banning or restricting hours for lighting off fireworks, she said.
There were some reports of fireworks-related property damage.
Fire district 1, for instance, had no homes in south Snohomish County damaged by fireworks. However, firefighters did respond to brush, dumpster, portable toilet and fence fires.
Local fire officials on Thursday offered theories about other factors they believe might have contributed to fewer calls.
A mid-week holiday after several days of rain probably helped.
"It seems that it was quiet all over," Marysville fire marshal Tom Maloney said. "I am thinking that Wednesday helped."
The Everett Fire Department also reported a day without much activity.
"We didn't have any untoward events," Everett fire marshal Rick Robinson said.
In many cities with fireworks bans, police issued warnings to celebrants.
In Mukilteo, more than 200 people were dispersed Wednesday evening. Many erroneously believed there would be a Fourth of July fireworks display at the waterfront park, officials said.
Police in Mukilteo responded to 75 fireworks complaints on the holiday and the days leading up to it. Officers didn't write any citations, but found polite reminders and warnings to be effective, Mukilteo Police Chief Rex Caldwell said. Illegal fireworks were confiscated and placed in water buckets at the public works department.
Mountlake Terrace reported a similar experience. There were 28 fireworks incidents, including six spotted by officers on patrol.
"There was nothing major," Mountlake Terrace Cmdr. Doug Hansen said. "We didn't have any people who needed to be cited."
The Washington State Patrol made 14 drunken driving arrests on Wednesday and through 3 a.m. Thursday. The year before, it made nine arrests during the same time span.
With temperatures expected to climb to in the 80s, troopers will continue to have DUI emphasis patrols through Sunday.
"It should be the nicest weekend we have had in months," trooper Keith Leary said. "We're still going to be looking for them."
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » EdmondsEverettFireAccidents (general)

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