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Birch Bay’s Fourth of July celebration survives a pair of fireworks scares

Tips to staying safe while using fireworks

With the Fourth of July approaching, it's important to remain safe when making a personal firework show. This video goes through the top tips for staying safe with fireworks.
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With the Fourth of July approaching, it's important to remain safe when making a personal firework show. This video goes through the top tips for staying safe with fireworks.

Though it got off to a slow start, the annual Fourth of July celebration at Birch Bay had its share of excitement Thursday, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

“Well, it was a pretty busy July 4 for us, with lots of activity, but no real huge events,” Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Bellingham Herald. “Our operation out in Birch Bay for the Fourth started pretty slow, as there were not the usual number of people in the Bay (maybe due to the weather) for the first half of the day.

“Around 8 p.m., a lot more people actually showed up and it became pretty crowded. This also coincided with a bunch of calls that came in at the time in regards to some fireworks mishaps, several drunk calls and (a burglary).”

The fireworks incidents Hester spoke about included a couple of pretty big scares that fortunately didn’t have far worse outcomes:

One involved a firework that was shot into an open door of a condo. Hester said the result was a “minor burn” to the carpet.

An adult male also was hit in the head with a mortar round after he stuck his face over the tube to see why a mortar hadn’t gone off. The man did not suffer a serious injury, Hester said, though he was checked by aid personnel and released.

Hester said deputies likely issued fewer than five fireworks citations this week.

“It is not too often that we issue citations for illegal fireworks,” Hester told The Herald. “Usually only after ignoring a previous warning. Normally we try and educate in regards to what is legal and what is illegal and then confiscation of the illegal products.”

Deputies also were called Wednesday to a report of two trailer burglaries at the Birch Bay Leisure Park, Hester said, where they found a 28-year-old Anacortes man who was experiencing a mental health crisis and had broken into the trailers belonging to his deceased grandmother and another distant relative.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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