Number of Cape fireworks calls nearly the same

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Cape Girardeau police handled nearly as many fireworks-related calls this year as they did in 2003, even with a shorter season to buy and discharge fireworks.

In all, police responded to 162 fireworks-related calls, two fewer than in 2003. But only eight incidents resulted in written reports, police chief Steve Strong told the city council Tuesday night.

A dozen calls came during the week of June 20 to June 26, when sales and discharge were prohibited under the city's new law. That was down about 85 percent.

But with the fireworks season restricted to one week from two weeks in previous years, calls of fireworks incidents jumped 34 percent to 150 calls in the week ending July 4, compared to an average of 99 calls for the same period over the previous three fireworks seasons, police said.

"We packed all our calls into the last week," Strong said.

Prohibiting sales of fireworks to minors and outlawing minors from discharging them without adult supervision reduced injuries, Strong said. Southeast Missouri Hospital treated only one fireworks-related injury. St. Francis Medical Center had no reports of such injuries, Strong said.

A fire that caused minor damage to a porch on South West End Boulevard was the only fire in the city caused by pyrotechnics, fire chief Richard Ennis said.

Public safety trust fund

The fireworks report came on the same night that the city council unanimously voted to establish a public safety trust fund. The fund is spelled out in an ordinance that details how the city's new quarter-cent sales tax will be spent to improve the fire and police departments. Voters approved the tax in June. The tax takes effect in October.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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