Perhaps you heard some illegal fireworks last night?
Portland Fire and Rescue's unprecedented fireworks crackdown this Fourth of July didn't exactly make for a silent night, but it did result in less structure fires—and a lot more fines.
Fire bureau spokesman Michael Silva says there were 12 fireworks-related fires in the city last night, down from 19 last July 4.
And he says Operation Lower the Boom—the annual enforcement patrol, which this year included police for the first time—issued more than 120 citations over the last three days. Last year, Portland firefighters issued 90 citations during the holiday week.
Since Monday, firefighters have confiscated at least $35,000 worth of illegal fireworks.
Silva concedes that the crackdown by new Fire Chief Erin Janssens didn't stop Portlanders from setting off backyard rockets.
"It sounded loud," he says. "To me, it sounded worse last year."
Silva says firefighters often arrived at locations where illegal fireworks displays had already finished. At one home, they found a pile of discarded fireworks eight feet long, three feet deep and four feet high.
"It was just an amazing stash," he says.
The bureau also put out a a fire yesterday afternoon in a garbage truck. It had picked up used fireworks from a dumpster in Southeast Portland. The fireworks' embers ignited a mattress while the truck continued its route.
While Silva says firefighters encountered less large displays this year, he warns that the worst noise might not be over.
"I don't know if people are waiting for the weekend, or if they just didn't buy a lot of stuff," he says.