Personal firework displays kept law enforcement busy

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Firework debris is all that remains of Fourth of July Festivities.

This neighborhood in Wapato is just one area in Yakima County that put on its own displays.

"They started lighting off like crazy, pop, pop, pop, like crazy, all over the place, up and down the street," said Carlos Mendez.

Carlos Mendez wasn't happy about that. He says he's frustrated people are breaking the law. And worries about what could happen if something goes wrong.

"I'm concerned about people getting injured, damage to property, the noise it makes, the hostile environment it creates, people get reckless," said Carlos.

Setting off fireworks is illegal in most parts of Yakima County. But some of Carlos' neighbors don't see the harm. It's just a way they enjoy the holiday.

"As long as there's somebody responsible and knows what they're doing and are prepared to handle the dangers that come with fireworks then it's great fun for the family," said Trevor Gaskin.

Trevor Gaskin says going to public displays can be too crowded. Others in Yakima and the surrounding areas might have felt the same way.

Law enforcement responded to over a hundred reports of people using fireworks like these.

That kept them busier than normal. The Yakima police department says the amount of people not complying makes it tough with limited officers. And enforcing the law isn't easy either.

"As we're driving down the road you see a lot of stuff, air bursts or the sound of them. But actually catching someone in the act of doing it, usually by the time we get there it's left in the roadway or the debris," said Yakima Police Patrol Sergeant Shawn Boyle.

And even with officers on watch, Trevor does not want to end his personal display.

"Without fireworks, I mean, that's the point of Fourth of July. What's Christmas without presents?" said Trevor.

A tradition for some that is not going away.

The Washington State Fire Marshal wants to remind you that the sale and use for personal firework ends tonight at 11 P.M.