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MailTribune.com
  • Fireworks ban made for quieter Independence Day in Medford

    Calls for service fell from 152 during the holiday in 2013 to 142 this year, police say
  • A campaign to snuff out illegal fireworks in Medford resulted in a more peaceful July 4.
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  • A campaign to snuff out illegal fireworks in Medford resulted in a more peaceful July 4.
    "I noticed it was a lot less this year," Councilor John Michaels said. "This year was very quiet."
    On July 4, Michaels said he did report illegal fireworks in his west Medford neighborhood, but he said police appeared to resolve the problem quickly.
    He said he didn't notice as many fireworks after the July 4 night as he normally does.
    Medford police reported calls for service dropped from 152 in 2013 to 142 this July 4.
    Councilor Dick Gordon said educational efforts by police appeared to help dampen enthusiasm for detonating illegal fireworks.
    "I thought the reader boards were a nice addition on the east side," he said.
    The reader boards alerted residents in the eastern foothills that they shouldn't set off fireworks.
    Medford police issued 30 citations this year compared with 24 last year. The statistics are from 9 p.m., July 3, to 6 a.m., July 5. Police confiscated 1,794 fireworks this year compared with 35 last year.
    "We want people to have fun but do it safely," said Medford Deputy Police Chief Brett Johnson.
    Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg said there were eight fires, the same as last year, but the number of acres dropped from .42 in 2013 to .11 in 2014.
    "Not much vegetation burned up," Kleinberg said.
    The total property loss from the fires was $151 compared with $2,750 in 2013.
    He said code enforcement officers have been particularly vigilant this year getting property owners to cut down weeds on vacant lots in areas that have high fire danger.
    Medford fire officials also inspected five fireworks retail locations outside the city limits, in the Medford Rural Fire Protection District No. 2, and determined they were legal under Oregon law. Fireworks sales are prohibited inside the city.
    Kleinberg said the offenders he contacted during the July 4 enforcement said they were aware they were lighting illegal fireworks.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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