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Missoula County 911 Center reports 140 fireworks complaints over holiday

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Jul 05 2012 07:17:55 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 06 2012 08:17:54 AM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Nice weather, maybe a day off, and plenty of fireworks had Missoulians in a celebratory mood over the fourth.

But that holiday recipe kept law enforcement busy.

Shooting fireworks off in Missoula City limits is illegal.

But that didn't stop revelers from doing it.

Missoula's 911 dispatch center had little downtime in this holiday stretch.

Celebrants started early.

"July third we had 28 calls," said 911's Sherri Odlin. "July fourth we had 140 calls on the fireworks hotline. So we had quite a few responses from officers and the fire department."

There were no reports of serious injuries. Some of those calls came from the county, others from the city. Missoula police were out in force.

But even though there's an ordinance against fireworks in city limits, police issued no citations.

"Considering the volume of calls and volume of people who are violating the ordinance," said Missoula police detective sergeant Travis Welsh, " it would be fruitless to try to throw everybody in jail."

Welsh said top concerns are keeping people safe and reducing fire risks.

Parker is Dr. Joe Thompson's dog. Thompson is a Missoula veterinarian.

And Parker, like most dogs doesn't like fireworks. Dr. Thompson said many of his clients start coming in asking for animal tranquilizers a couple weeks before the fourth. That's because people start setting them off weeks before the real holiday.