Dispatchers staff new, non-emergency line for fireworks related - KPTV - FOX 12

Dispatchers staff new, non-emergency line for fireworks related calls

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

They’re festive but also dangerous. Last Fourth of July, fireworks started thirteen fires in Portland alone.

In 2014, illegal fireworks use caused a fire that destroyed a Southeast Portland home.

“I looked out my window and there was just like the house was on fire,” neighbor Dominic Thomas said.

At the time, firefighters said while they worked to put out the fire, neighbors continued to launch illegal fireworks around them.

“There was a bunch of people doing fireworks out here,” Thomas said.

This year, firefighters want people to know when to call for help. They’ve added a new way to report firework use that is illegal, but not an emergency.

Jesse Altig with Portland Fire and Rescue said when there are flames, or when someone’s hurt, it’s time to call 911.

But, this year, dispatchers are fielding a new line for less serious fireworks related cases. The new non-emergency number for fireworks is 503-823-BOOM.

“That frees up 911 for true emergencies and we can get help there that’s needed as soon as possible,” Altig said.

The line is what Portland Fire and Rescue people should use to report things like illegal fireworks, which have proved dangerous and damaging in the past.

“We want to limit property damage,” Altig said. “We don’t want an illegal firework or a legal firework to ruin someone’s Fourth of July.”

People who are caught lighting off illegal fireworks could face up to $1,000 fine.

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