911 calls about fireworks soar in Durham as few public July 4th celebrations planned

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As many professional firework shows are canceled due to COVID-19 this year, more people in the Triangle are celebrating Independence Day at home and purchasing consumer fireworks.

As a result, the number of 911 calls related to fireworks has increased in the city of Durham over the last month.

According to Durham police, there were 144 firework-related calls in the month of June alone. That’s more than double the 61 firework-related calls the city had during the month of May.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase,” said Amanda Fitzpatrick, spokeswoman for the city of Durham.

Fitzpatrick said police want to remind the public that fireworks that explode are illegal in North Carolina.

Also, according to the Durham noise ordinance, after 11 p.m. the sound level should not be louder than 50 decibels, which compares to a quiet conversation at home. Fitzpatrick is asking the public to take that into consideration before setting off fireworks.

In addition, officials are asking parents to not let young children set off fireworks.

Fitzpatrick said they are also asking the community to wear masks when people cannot socially distance over the holiday weekend.

In Durham County, no more than 10 people can gather at a time under the “safer-at-home” order.

“Even if you’re celebrating at home, you still want to be safe and cognizant of some of the risks and dangers of COVID-19,” Fitzpatrick said.

Meagan Lineberger and her son Andrew went to purchase fireworks at a special tent store in front of Walmart on New Hope Commons Drive on Friday afternoon.

Lineberger said due to COVID-19, they plan to have their own fireworks show at home.

“I think staying away from crowds is really the most important thing,” Lineberger said.

Her son Andrew Lineberger said even though they are forced to stay home this year, he is still excited to set off fireworks and celebrate the country’s birthday.

“I’m really excited because it’s about our country and it only happens once a year, so I’m really excited to do it,” Andrew Lineberger said.

For more safety information, go to the Facebook page for the Durham Police Department that can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/TheDurhamPolice/.

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