Beginning 'round 9ish last night, my Northwest Dallas neighborhood sounded like a war zone -- more than usual, anyhow. (As one Facebook friend put it, it turned into a parlor game: Firework or Gunshot?) Clearly, news of the countywide burn ban and threats of Class C misdemeanor tickets for shooting off fireworks in the city limits didn't stop the pop. Hence, this update from the Dallas Police Department that just landed in the in-box:
Fireworks calls peaked citywide between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. on the 4th of July. 911 received 4,290 calls during this three-hour time frame. Most were fireworks calls. During a normal eight-hour shift, 911 will receive 2,000 calls. Communications had double-staffing for 911 during the peak of the demand.
No word on how many tickets were actually written; Senior Corporal Kevin Janse tells Unfair Park he'll see if he can round up the stats. (Update: Right after I posted this, Janse sent word: "There were no tags placed on firework related offenses or citations." And he sure doesn't have the time to go back and count 'em all by hand.) But he does note, via email, that "the only major fireworks related incident" took place near Fish Trap Lake, when "unknown suspects tossed a firework into the open window [of a car] causing fireworks inside the vehicle to catch fire. The driver jumped out of the vehicle, vehicle crashed into two cars," and two people were taken to Parkland -- one for severe burns, another for smoke inhalation.
Update at 11:31 a.m.: Janse just sent an update concerning the above-mentioned incident. He writes: "There were several independent witnesses at the scene that told officers there was not a suspect vehicle. Assaults detectives will now have to determine if, in fact, there was a second vehicle or if the occupants of the burned vehicle set their own fireworks off by accident."
Also, he writes, officers were called to the Creekside Villas apartment complex near Jim Miller and Ledbetter. About 100 people were shooting off fireworks, which sparked a grass fire. "The suspects began shooting fireworks at police and [Fire-Rescue] before the crowd disbursed. One officer was hit in the arm by a bottle rocket but was not injured."
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Also: As you no doubt know, this was a statewide no-refusal weekend, and DPD reports there were a grand total of 45 DWI arrests this weekend -- for which the department needed but five blood warrants when those pulled-over refused to submit to breath or blood tests.