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  • July Fourth passes with no major fires

  • Despite a high fire risk and widespread legal and illegal firework use Friday in Jackson County, fire officials said the holiday was relatively uneventful.
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  • Despite a high fire risk and widespread legal and illegal firework use Friday in Jackson County, fire officials said the holiday was relatively uneventful.
    "It was a very, very slow July Fourth as far as severe incidents go," Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Rick Rohrbough said.
    No structure fires were reported in Medford. Of the 16 fire calls the department received, about 10 or 12 were related to fireworks, Rohrbough said, but no injuries were reported.
    While Rohrbough said he hopes increased efforts by Medford fire and police departments to educate the public about the dangers of illegal fireworks are helping, he said it did not seem like illegal fireworks use had decreased.
    "I think it was the luck of the draw yesterday that nothing more severe occurred," Rohrbough said. "The same amount of stuff was going on."
    No other fire departments in Jackson County reported major incidents, and Ashland Fire Battalion Chief David Shepherd echoed Rohrbough's analysis, saying the evening was "pretty quiet."
    "We received no fire calls," Shepherd said. "There were lots of medical calls, but no more than usual for a holiday."
    Medford police Sgt. Darrell Graham said 29 tickets were written for illegal fireworks, including a handful for setting off fireworks in a prohibited area, Graham said.
    According to the Medford Police Department Facebook page, officers seized 1,100 bottle rockets, 200 mortars, 219 firecrackers, 159 flaming balls, 62 rockets and 54 Roman candles.
    The department's Facebook post also contained details of a prank that officers did not find amusing.
    "An unknown suspect made an improvised explosive device out of fireworks and paint, and then put it on our police car parked at the station (bold move)," the Facebook post stated. "The device rattled the police department and caused minor damage to the police car. Needless to say, we would very much like to figure out who did this one. If you know anything, let us know."
    In addition to having their fireworks confiscated, violators of Oregon fireworks statutes can receive a fine of up to $500 per violation, police said.
    Central Point Master Police Officer Bo Schoen said that despite an estimated 20,000 people coming to the city for the annual Red, White and Boom celebration, nobody was cited for illegal fireworks.
    "It was quite the busy day for Central Point PD," Schoen said. "We had guys helping out at The Expo, on bike patrol and DUII patrol."
    Last year, there were three structure fires in Medford as a result of fireworks, and 20 tickets were written out for fireworks violations.
    Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or kthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyethomas.
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