Many St. Louisans saw Independence Day fireworks, legal or illegal, like Danielle Couch’s daughters in St. Louis Hills.
“They actually got to set some off this year. We did some sparklers, roman candles,” said Couch.
“I saw some other people’s fireworks,” said Couch’s daughter Ariya.
Other people’s fireworks are often illegal and not always well received on social media.
“There’s even controversy in our own neighborhood,” said Couch. “We see people posting things on social media about how they don’t want people setting off fireworks, but they’re so ingrained in the 4th of July. I don’t really know how you would stop it.”
Neither does St. Louis Metropolitan Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson.
“Even more concerning to me as fire chief is I’ve got four injured firefighters right now,” said Jenkerson. “I have one firefighter still in the hospital in serious condition. He will be released, but he’s having a tough time today.”
A tough time could also describe the fire department’s challenging Independence Day. 24 hours, hundreds of fireworks related calls.
“70-plus dumpster fires, 30-pluis weed or grass fires, 10 garage fires. We also had a total of 13 building fires,” said Jenkerson.
For years Jenkerson has heard fireworks fans say it’s tradition to shoot fireworks, even when it’s considered illegal. Jenkerson said there’s no level of being careful with fireworks.
“Accidents happen. People don’t pay attention and that’s why fireworks are illegal in the city of St. Louis,” said Jenkerson. “At what point in time do we have to make an example and start the ball rolling and just stop this period?”
St. Louis police said there were no fireworks related summons issued July 4th. St. Louis County police said four summons were issued, three of them in Wildwood. The challenge for police is that by the time they respond to a fireworks complaint, the offenders are often long gone.
“In the grand scheme of all the things our police can be doing,” said Couch, “it’s not that surprising that we don’t see them enforcing fireworks violations.”