July 4 holiday calls down again this year

Calls related to fireworks were down again this year, according to city officials.

The Great Falls Police Department had 32 fireworks calls from July 2-4, during which time fireworks are legal in the city.

Great Falls Fire Rescue had 69 calls during that time period, but most were medical calls and only a few were fireworks related.

There was one building fire during that time, one dumpster fire, one trash fire and two grass fires.

City Manager Greg Doyon told City Commissioners during their July 17 meeting that calls were down this year.

The decrease in calls could have been due to the holiday falling on a Wednesday.

In 2017, GFFR ran 75 calls, of which about 10 were probably fireworks related, Chief Steve Hester told The Electric last year.

Fewer calls over this July 4 holiday than previous years; open burning remains prohibited in Cascade County

That was down from 2016, when GFFR ran 101 calls, with a few running into the morning of July 5 and 32 calls involving fireworks. In 2015, GFFR responded to 120 calls with two structure fires related to fireworks.

Resident asks city to consider banning fireworks within city limits

Last year, the city made some changes to the municipal code related to fireworks and in February, some residents asked the commission to consider banning fireworks within the city limits for the Fourth of July and New Years Eve holidays, but they did not come back to a commission meeting and the commission did not pursue any action.

Last year, The Electric rode with GFFR for the evenings of July 3 and 4. This year, The Electric rode the afternoon shift, 2-11 p.m. with GFPD on July 4.

Early into the shift, Officer Shane Daniels noticed a vehicle that looked like it has been spray painted, which can be an indicator of a stolen vehicle. Daniels ran the plates, which came back to a different color vehicle and no insurance. Daniels executed a traffic stop and the passenger had outstanding warrants so he was arrested and the driver was cited.

The passenger was transported to the county jail, where another man was shouting in booking. He’d stopped his vehicle in the middle of 10th Avenue South on July 4, in protest of President Trump’s visit.

Daniels was previously the Parkdale officer and is now back on patrol. He said patrol officers typically don’t have much time between calls for any proactive work.

Officer responded to a disturbance where someone had called 911 on a man lighting fireworks and he was visibly upset. Later in the evening, police were called to another disturbance involving the same man, who was wearing a bright yellow shirt and was taken to jail.

A dumpster fire was started by children tossing fireworks into the alley dumpster, according to witnesses, but the children weren’t found that evening.

We closed out the shift with a vehicle parked on the Warden Bridge to watch the fireworks. Daniels and another officer checked on the vehicle and no citations were issued.