GRFD sees rise in fireworks-related calls

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More fireworks were sold and set off this Fourth of July in West Michigan, mostly due to the pandemic.

Many people lit fireworks for the first time at home, but did that mean a jump in 911 calls? 

The Grand Rapids Fire Department saw more calls for fireworks this past weekend than the entire month of July last year.

According to the fire department’s data, there were 17 calls involving fireworks this past week and 13 total for the whole month of July last summer. 

Calls in the city of Grand Rapids over the past two weeks included: one personal injury, three minor structure fires, six grass or brush fires and seven trash and dumpster fires.

The remnants of commercial fireworks set of in Grand Rapids over the Fourth of July weekend. (July 6, 2020)

“We’re fortunate that there wasn’t a major injury or loss of property.” Deputy Fire Chief Todd Vanderwall with GRFD said. 

Vanderwall says firefighters were concerned heading into the holiday weekend. 

“People not handling fireworks maybe the way they should be, not much training, but fortunately, we only had one medical incident where someone had a hand injury,” he added. 

The remnants of commercial fireworks set of in Grand Rapids over the Fourth of July weekend. (July 6, 2020)

News 8 also saw shelves at a local fireworks store nearly empty Sunday morning.

Thankfully, fire crews were able to respond quickly to grass and structure fires, which kept damages at or under $1,000. 

“We are fortunate, especially with the dry conditions,” Vanderwall said. 

As of Sunday, fireworks are once again illegal. Anyone caught setting them off could face a $1,000 fine.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 in West Michigan

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links

Coronavirus Resources

More Coronavirus Resources