A ‘much quieter’ Fourth of July in Kent

Fireworks complaints down 43 percent from last year

Kent city leaders report that fireworks on the Fourth of July were “noticeably less” and “much quieter” compared to previous years.

“In the two decades of going to Fourth of July events here, you could tell it was noticeably less than it had been,” Police Chief Rafael Padilla told the City Council during his July 17 Public Safety report. “That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of fireworks going on because there were.”

Fireworks complaints were down 43 percent this year on July 4 compared to 2017, Padilla said. Kent had 428 fireworks calls to 911 last year compared to 294 this year. The city’s total 911 calls for all incidents on the Fourth of July dropped 17 percent from 524 to 434.

Kent Police added special fireworks emphasis patrols. Officers issued three tickets for using fireworks (a $250 fine) and 18 warnings.

“We tried to get to as much as we could,” Padilla said.

Padilla came away pleased with how things went.

“Overall, it went well,” he said. “We had no reports of major structure fires or injuries, so from that point it was a success.”

Council President Bill Boyce, who lives near Lake Meridian, could tell a difference.

“It was much quieter,” Boyce said at the July 10 Public Safety Committee meeting. “I think we are making progress. I hope it’s progress we are seeing, I noticed a big improvement from last year.”

The council approved a fireworks ban two years ago after numerous complaints from residents about fires, noise and litter from fireworks. Kent used to allow certain types of fireworks on July 4. The city still allows the annual Fourth of July Splash display at Lake Meridian Park.

” I want to thank residents for following the law,” Councilwoman Toni Troutner said. “On social media, people said neighborhoods were quieter and cleaner.”

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