Fireworks blamed for 2 injuries, dumpster fire over July 4th holiday in Douglas County

Police got over 100 fireworks calls, gave verbal warnings but no tickets

Story updated: 4:45 p.m. Friday.

Fireworks injured at least two people and also caused a dumpster fire over the Fourth of July holiday this year in Douglas County.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical responded to two fireworks-related injuries in the county, one of which was serious enough the patient was taken by ambulance to a hospital, Division Chief Tom Fagan said in an email.

Fagan did not provide information about the locations or nature of those injuries, citing patient privacy.

Firefighters also put out a dumpster fire about 3 a.m. Friday at 719 W. 25th St., Fagan said. A discarded fireworks box was found inside, though the fire’s cause was undetermined, he said.

That fire didn’t spread beyond the dumpster, and no one was hurt, Fagan said.

Fireworks are allowed elsewhere in the county but banned in the Lawrence city limits.

The Lawrence Police Department got 112 fireworks-related calls on and around the Fourth this year.

Officers doled out 47 verbal warnings but no written warnings or citations in that period, from Wednesday through 7 a.m. Friday, according to department spokesman Patrick Compton.

Last year police also responded to over 100 calls in the days surrounding the holiday but wrote no tickets, the Journal-World previously reported.

In responding to fireworks calls — which may fall behind higher-priority calls on busy days — police often don’t catch anyone in the act, officers have told the newspaper in the past. The department’s primary focus has been on education and confiscation of illegal fireworks.

Though there were 19 fireworks tickets issued in 2016, in most recent years citations have numbered in the single digits, according to previous Journal-World reports.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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